A Pennsylvania appeals court on Wednesday overturned rapper Meek Mill's conviction in a drug and gun case that has kept the rapper on probation for a decade and made him a celebrity crusader for criminal justice reform. The unanimous three-judge panel said that new evidence that undermines the credibility of the officer who testified against the rapper at his trial made it likely he would be acquitted if the case were retried, the AP reports. The Pennsylvania Superior Court ordered a new trial and a new judge in the case, CNN reports. City prosecutors have backed the defense bid for a new trial and confirmed they do not trust the officer, who has since left the force and was the only prosecution witness at the 2008 nonjury trial. Still, District Attorney Larry Krasner said Wednesday his office needs time to decide whether to drop the case.
The 32-year-old performer, born Robert Rihmeek Williams, is now free of the court supervision he's been under most of his adult life. Williams has said he had trouble notifying probation officers about his travels as required because of the erratic nature of the music industry. A little more than a year ago, he spent five months in prison over technical violations of his parole. The court also overturned the trial judge's parole violation findings and, in a rare move, pulled her off the case because "she heard highly prejudicial testimony ... and made credibility determinations in favor of a now discredited witness." Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley had kept Williams on probation for 10 years and sent him back to prison for several short stints for violating parole. The court ruled that she erred when she denied the rapper a new trial last year, per CNN.
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