Sentencing of Rapper Meek Mill Draws Out Al Sharpton

The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks to reporters after visiting with rapper Meek Mill at the state correctional institution in Chester, Pa., on Nov. 27, 2017. Mill was sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating probation in a nearly decade-old gun and drug case. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA (CN) — Calling for the judge who sentenced rapper Meek Mill to step aside, the Rev. Al Sharpton said a broken criminal-justice system is to blame for Mill’s imprisonment.

In a twilight press conference Monday outside the State Correctional Institute in Chester, Pennsylvania, where Mill has been sentenced to serve two to four years, Sharpton said the 30-year-old musician  has become a symbol for the thousands of people who have been “victimized by abusive probationary and parole systems.”

“He’s representative of many people in institutions like this that do little or nothing, they’re violated and their lives, their businesses are ruined,” Sharpton said.

A Philadelphia native, Mill was sentenced by Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley earlier this month  for violating probation on a roughly decade-old gun and drug case.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, and attorney Joe Tacopina walk to speak with members of the media after visiting with rapper Meek Mill at the state correctional institution in Chester, Pa., on Nov. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Neither Mill’s probation officer nor the prosecution had recommended jail for Mill, but Judge Brinkley slammed the rapper for wasting the chances he was given to clean up his act after his original conviction.

Brinkley cited a failed drug test, his failure to comply with a court order restricting his travel and two unrelated arrests. “You basically thumbed your nose at me,” she said.

Mill’s imprisonment has since attracted attention from several high-profile sources, including Sharpton and the rapper Jay-Z. Throughout Pennsylvania, rallies, newspaper opinion pieces, billboards and buses have touted the message “Stand With Meek Mill.”

This November 2017 photo provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shows rapper Meek Mill, whose real name is Robert Williams. Earlier this month, a judge sentenced Mill to serve two to four years in prison for violating probation in a nearly decade-old gun and drug case. A lawyer for Meek Mill asked Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley to recuse herself from the case on Nov. 14, 2017, before the rapper appeals his prison sentence. (Pennsylvania Department of Corrections via AP)

Mill’s legal team wants Judge Brinkley recused from the case. They filed an emergency motion Monday with Pennsylvania’s Superior Court, contending that Judge Brinkley has not responded to any post-sentencing appeals.

Mill can’t appeal until Brinkley rules on his post-sentence motions, and she “refuses to do so,” the motion states

Attorneys for the rapper insisting that Brinkley has made the case inappropriately personal.

(Associated Press reporter ANTHONY IZAGUIRRE contributed to this report)

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