Live, Nicki Minaj testifying for Meek Mill
The hearing in Courtroom 907 on Thursday was never going to be a typical court proceeding. And that was even before Nicki Minaj walked in.
The hearing in Courtroom 907 on Thursday was never going to be a typical court proceeding.
And that was even before Nicki Minaj walked in.
The Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill was appearing at a probation hearing to assess whether his jet-setting travel over the last year had violated the terms of his probation.
So Minaj, one of the biggest stars on the planet, took the stand in a cramped Philadelphia courtroom to vouch for her boyfriend, whom she described as occasionally "irresponsible" but working on becoming, as she put it, "a quote-unquote adult."
"He never purposefully goes against rules," she told the court. "He absolutely wants to make this a smooth transition."
But Minaj and Meek will have to wait until at least next week to learn his fate - the hearing, which lasted nearly three hours, ran out of time and will reconvene next Thursday.
Meek, whose given name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, has dealt with legal troubles since 2008, when he was convicted on gun and firearm charges.
He served eight months in prison and began five years' probation in the fall of 2009.
In 2013, he was sentenced to an additional five months in prison for violating probation - namely, traveling without the court's permission, and tweeting angry sentiments about prosecutors and probation officers.
Prosecutor Noel DeSantis opened Thursday's hearing by detailing some of Williams' travails, including attracting thousands of fans to a North Philly video shoot and being briefly stopped at the Canadian border in August.
Angry fans of the rapper Drake, whose track trashing Williams was recently nominated for a Grammy, got wind of the incident and "blew up" DeSantis' phone, she said, begging her to arrest Williams.
DeSantis also cited several instances in which Williams allegedly told his probation officer he was planning to go somewhere, only to never arrive.
As part of his probation, Williams must tell his probation officer his whereabouts at all times.
William's attorney, noted defense lawyer Frank DeSimone, chalked most of the travel snafus up to his client's unusual schedule and burgeoning rap career.
"His life is chaos. It's more immaturity than anything else," he said. "This is almost a child. He's 28."
Williams, who wore a gray suit with a purple tie, said nothing during the hearing. At one point, he wiped his eyes with a tissue.
Minaj, wearing a matching blue crop top and skirt, black and gold stilettos, and an enormous diamond given to her by Williams, took the stand last. She paused for a moment when asked what she did for a living, eventually settling on a single word: "Entertainment."
And she told the judge she wants to help Williams avoid jail - avoid becoming "another statistic."
"We both have a strong fan base here in Philadelphia," she said, and suggested that the two could work on community service projects with children in the city.
Minaj said she has an intimate knowledge of Williams' probationary woes, and that even she had trouble understanding the ins and outs of the terms of his probation.
The significance of Minaj's appearance on the stand was not lost on those in the courtroom.
DeSimone called her a "smart businesswoman" who would "straighten his client out."
DeSantis called her a "mogul" and suggested she was "probably twice as successful as the defendant." (At that, Minaj's eyes widened in a look straight out of one of her videos.)
Minaj told the court that she was determined to help Williams - and that the stakes, for her, were higher than most.
She would be sleeping alone if Williams were sent to jail, she said.
By 5 p.m., the court stenographer had to leave to pick up her children, and Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley exasperatedly called an end to the day's proceedings.
She reminded Williams he could not travel until the hearing was completed on Dec. 17, and then gave the courtroom an idea of what they might expect next week.
"[Williams is] thumbing his nose at me," the judge said, "and I haven't been convinced otherwise."