After a decade-long legal saga dotted with contentious court dates, probation violations, jail stints, and a push for criminal justice reform, rapper Meek Mill’s legal battle has come to a close.
The rapper pleaded guilty Tuesday to a gun charge and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office dropped all other charges against him, bringing an end to the celebrity rapper’s fight to overturn his case.
The hearing came a month after the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that Mill’s 11-year-old conviction should be vacated.
Here’s a look at the key events in Meek Mill’s legal saga.
The arrest. Meek Mill, 19, whose birth name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, is arrested in Southwest Philadelphia on drug and weapons charges.
The trial. In a trial before Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley, narcotics officer Reginald V. Graham testifies that he saw Mill sell crack cocaine and pull a gun from his waistband when officers approached. Mill admits having a gun but denies selling drugs or pointing a weapon at police. Brinkley convicts Mill of drug possession, firearms violations, and simple assault.
Mill serves five months in jail.
Dec. 17: Concerts cancelled. At a hearing, Brinkley rules that Mill violated the terms of his probation by scheduling performances to promote his first CD, and forbids him from touring for a month. The ruling forces cancellations of concerts in Africa, the Caribbean, and across the United States.
June 28: Court-ordered etiquette classes. Brinkley orders Mill to attend etiquette classes to learn how to act in public and online, and to notify his probation officer when he wants to travel outside Pennsylvania.
July 11: Mill sentenced to three to six months in prison. Brinkley sentences Mill to three to six months in prison for ignoring her order not to schedule any new concerts between July 1 and Aug. 11. “After all these years of me trying to help him move his career forward … I believe this defendant is basically thumbing his nose at me,” Brinkley says. A month later, Brinkley denies the rapper early parole, saying she saw no signs he had changed his ways.
Dec. 2: Mill is released from jail. Brinkley prohibits him from resuming concerts until he completes a plan of treatment and community service.
March 21: Back on stage. Mill performs a “homecoming” concert at the Wells Fargo Center.
Dec. 14: Parole violated, again. At a 5½-hour probation hearing, Brinkley rules that Mill once again violated parole. She bars him from performing and limits his travel, saying: “I bent over backward to give him every opportunity to grow his career.”
Feb. 5: House arrest. Brinkley sentences Mill to at least 90 days’ house arrest.
Aug. 17: Brinkley bars Mill from performing outside Philadelphia or Montgomery County.
Nov. 6: Another prison sentence. Brinkley sentences Mill to two to four years in prison for repeatedly violating his probation, and orders him taken into custody immediately. “I gave you break after break, and you basically just thumbed your nose at this court,” Brinkley tells Mill.
Nov. 13: Hundreds of Mill supporters rally outside the Criminal Justice Center. Speakers include 76ers Hall of Famer Julius Erving, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, and rappers Rick Ross and Freeway.
Nov. 14: In a legal filing, Mill’s lawyers ask Brinkley to disqualify herself from further involvement in his case and to let a new judge reconsider Mill’s prison sentence.
Feb. 13: Secret list of suspect officers. The Inquirer reports that the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in 2017 secretly compiled a list of Philadelphia police officers with a history of lying, racial bias, or brutality in a move to block them from testifying in court. On the list was Graham, who arrested Mill in 2007. Prosecutors acknowledge that Mill’s lawyers were never told of the list or that Graham was on it.
Feb. 14: A former Philadelphia police officer accuses Graham of lying under oath in 2008 in an effort to put Mill in jail.
April 16: The District Attorney’s Office says Mill’s conviction should be vacated and he should be granted a new trial, due to questions about the credibility of Graham. It is the first time that prosecutors have publicly said they agree with the claim by Mill’s lawyers that his 2007 arrest might have been improper.
April 24: Release from prison. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court orders that Mill should be immediately released from prison on bail. Mill leaves the state prison in Chester, and heads directly to the 76ers playoff game against the Miami Heat, where he rings the bell for the home team before tip-off, electrifying the crowd.
Sept. 1: Mill headlines Jay-Z’s Made in America festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Jan. 23: Mill, 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, and Jay-Z announce the formation of Reform Alliance, criminal justice reform organization.
March 14: Philadelphia declares “Meek Mill Weekend.” Officials honor the rapper at City Hall.
June 24: Amazon releases a trailer for Free Meek, a documentary chronicling Mill’s battles with the criminal justice system.
July 16: Mill’s lawyers and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office tells a panel of Superior Court Judges that the rapper deserves a new trial, and ask that any new proceedings be transferred to a different judge.
July 24: Conviction vacated. The Pennsylvania Superior Court issues an 18-page opinion ruling that Mill’s decade-old conviction on gun and drug charges should be vacated, the most significant step in the celebrity rapper’s long fight to overturn the case.
Aug. 27: Legal saga ends. Mill’s criminal case comes to an official conclusion, with the rapper pleading guilty to a firearms-possession offense and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office dropping all other charges against him.