Meek Mill has been forced to cancel his homecoming Philadelphia gig and a string of other bookings after being sentenced to three to six months in jail on Friday. The Philadelphia Daily News reports that a Philadelphia judge sentenced the rapper for probation violations.
Mill was arrested on drug and gun charges in 2008 and spent eight months in jail before being put on a five-year probation. Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley found that he had violated the terms of his probation by failing to get her permission before booking out-of-town concerts, as well as failing to provide his probation officer with a working phone number. The judge also noted that he had posted disparaging remarks about his probation officer and prosecutor on Twitter, and had posed holding a gun for a photo that was posted on Instagram.
Mill's lawyer, Gary Silver, argued that the gun in the photo was a prop and that Mill's cell phone did sometimes work.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Mill pleaded with the judge to let him stay out of jail so he could continue working to support himself, his mother, sister and son. "It took me 15 years to get here, and this will be extremely damaging to my life," Mill said.
But the judge's breaking point seemed to have been reached after Mill booked concerts in July and August during a period when she had ordered him to stop performing while she tried to resolve his probation issues. "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 told Mill and his lawyer.
Meek Mill is signed with Maybach Music Group, and on Saturday, Rick Ross issued a statement of support.
"Every individual signed to MMG is not just an artist, they are my family. And with family you ride, or you die. Yesterday, my brother, Meek Mill ran into some unfortunate legal issues. It happens. However, his team, our team, will continue to execute Meek’s plan as close to schedule as possible," Ross said, according to MTV News.
Mill had just announced a September 9th release date for his second album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, and Ross indicated that the release was still on track. "His album is coming," he said. "We ask that the fans and the media continue to support him and his music during this time. He’ll be home soon. 'Dreams Are Worth More Than Money,' and family is worth more than Everything. MMG FOR LIFE."