Meek Mill is going to stay free. The Philadelphia rapper pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge on Tuesday in order to resolve a case that’s plagued him for years, and a judge decided he won’t have to spend any additional time in prison or on probation.
Born Robert Williams, the 32-year-old Mill has made major headlines in recent years for his struggles with the criminal justice system. Mill was originally arrested in 2007 on gun and drugs charges, and even after serving time in jail was put on probation for years afterward. That probation reared its head in August 2017 when Mill was arrested for popping wheelies on his dirt bike during a music video shoot in New York City. That arrest counted as a probation violation and Mill was sent back to jail.
Mill has spoken openly about how hard that experience was for him, but his travails didn’t go unnoticed. Celebrities like Jay-Z, Kevin Hart, and Philadelphia 76ers owner Michael G. Rubin, as well as legions of fans, voiced their support for the rapper with the #FreeMeekMill movement. Once he was released, Mill vowed to use his voice and platform to shine a light on the criminal justice system abuses that he and many other people have suffered from. Free Meek, a six-part docuseries about his experience, premiered on Amazon Prime earlier this month.
This latest news comes a month after the Superior Court of Pennsylvania overturned Mill’s 2008 conviction after an appeals court found, according to the Associated Press, “that new evidence undermined the credibility of the officer who testified against the rapper at his trial.”
In a statement obtained by EW on Tuesday, Mill said, “I’m extremely grateful that my long legal battle is finally behind me and I appreciate that it has sparked a much-needed discussion about probation reform and the inequalities that exist within our two Americas. I have always told the truth — that as a teenager, who saw many around me die from senseless gun violence, I carried a gun for protection. I take responsibility for that and — in conjunction with my work on the REFORM Alliance — I’ll continue to use my platform to make communities safer and reform our criminal justice system.”