A Pennsylvania judge who has been accused of bias in the case of rapper Meek Mill has refused requests from his legal team to recuse herself and to reconsider the sentence in his case, The New York Daily News reports. Back in November, Judge Genece E. Brinkley sentenced Mill to two to four years in prison for violating his parole after he was arrested on minor misdemeanor charges—namely, popping a wheelie on his motorcycle—that were later dropped. Mill had been on probation for nearly a decade at that point, all stemming from an incident where he was arrested for carrying a gun at a local grocery store back in 2008.
A movement to free Mill, led by his fellow musicians and criminal justice reformers who deemed the sentence in his case disproportionately harsh, has been building momentum since he was sent back to prison. JAY-Z said Mill had “been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside” in a New York Times op-ed calling for his release on November 17, 2017, and attorney Jill Filipovic wrote that his case was proof that “the American criminal justice system is broken” in Time magazine four days later.
Brinkley, meanwhile, wrote yesterday that sending Mill back to prison was “absolutely necessary” and that the sentence “was not manifestly excessive.” She also denies allegations from Mill’s defense team that she had requested that he give her a shout-out in one of his songs and pressured him to drop his current management to sign with an acquaintance of hers instead. She also says that they “fabricated” claims that the FBI was investigating her handling of Mill’s case. Speaking under condition of anonymity, federal law-enforcement officials told The Philadelphia Inquirer that they were not actively investigating Brinkley back in December.