Two weeks after Meek Mill spoke with Lester Holt from prison, he returned to NBC Nightly News for a second interview. Only this time, he was a free man: On Tuesday, the rapper, whose legal name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was released from prison on bail.
Holt spoke with Meek Mill following his release for an upcoming Dateline NBC special. Part of their interview for the special aired on NBC Nightly News on Wednesday. He told Holt he was experiencing “culture shock” now that he’s finally out of prison. “I haven’t slept one minute,” he said.
“No, I don’t feel free,” he added when Holt asked. “I ain’t feel free since I caught this case at the age of 19. I’m 30 now. And me, I pray. I believe God is my first lawyer, I always believed that. And, you know, I got a strong team behind me, I got a lot of support. There’s a lot of light shedded on my situation.”
He also acknowledged he’s in a situation where he can help others. “Being in this position, I’ve got a lot of responsibility, I’ve got a lot of important people depending on me,” he said. “And [I’m] not talking about them people, the public officials. I’m talking about the men that’s depending on me that’s going through the same thing I’m going through. This is an important moment.”
The segment also featured an interview with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who previously filed motions stating his office was unopposed to the rapper’s release from prison on bail. “There are questions about the single important witness who testified in that [original] case,” Krasner said. Those questions surrounding Meek Mill’s 2008 conviction stem from allegations that the arresting officer, Reginald V. Graham, gave false testimony. Holt also spoke with Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, who emphasized how the rapper could be a “symbolic change agent that [is] needed for major criminal justice reform.”
Williams was released from prison this week after the Philadelphia Supreme Court issued an order overruling a previous decision by Judge Genece E. Brinkley, who had denied Williams’ bail just last week. The Philadelphia Supreme Court order added that Judge Brinkley “may opt to remove herself from presiding over any further proceedings in Meek’s case in the interests of justice,” according to Williams’ lawyer, Joe Tacopina. Williams’ legal team had previously asked Judge Brinkley to recuse herself from the case over alleged ethical violations.
After his release, Williams issued a thankful statement and announced his intention “to work closely with [his] legal team to overturn this unwarranted conviction.” He also said he planned to redouble his efforts advocating for criminal justice reform: “I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues.”
This declaration echoed comments Williams made during his previous interview with Holt. “I think God delivered me a job to help people, helping minorities that come from these situations like myself,” the rapper said. “I say, don’t show me no pity because this is my life. This is what I’ve been going through, and I think God put me in this position to be able to do a show with Lester Holt and open up eyes for other young black men.”