A decision on whether Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill will be retried in a drug and gun case has been delayed until later this month, prolonging the celebrity's 12-year legal battle many of his supporters hoped would end Tuesday.
The 32-year-old Philadelphia native has been on probation most of his adult life. A ruling by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania overturned his conviction last month because of credibility concerns about the arresting officer.
As a result, Mill's 2008 conviction reset in front of a new judge. He appeared before that judge Tuesday morning for the first time. His legal team asked for additional time to prepare his case and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office did not object.
A new hearing was set for Aug. 27 and Mill was allowed to remain out of prison on his own recognizance.
Outside of Philadelphia's Stout Center for Criminal Justice, dozens supporters gathered to hear the rapper speak. Mill did not comment as he boarded a private car and left the courthouse.
Later, he thanked his supporters for coming out to the hearing.
"What I can say is that I appreciate the hometown love and I’m proud to represent the city of Philadelphia in everything I do," Mill said via Facebook.
His legal team, on the other hand, expressed frustration that his case remained unsettled.
“While we had hoped that this matter would end today, we remain confident that justice will prevail in Meek’s case once and for all,” Mill's attorney Joe Tacopina said in a statement.
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, which is tasked with determining whether or not to retry Mill, did not comment on Tuesday's hearing other than to say it did not object to a status hearing continuance.
Mill became a symbol for criminal justice reform in recent years as his celebrity catapulted his case into the national limelight. At the center of it was a so-called dirty police officer, Reginald Graham, who was accused of lying on the stand. That officer was the sole witness to testify against Mill.
Mill's legal team repeatedly asked for a new trial in front of a new judge because of impartiality on the part of the original presiding judge, Genece Brinkley.
On July 24, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania granted that request.
Mill was originally sentenced to 11 to 23 months in prison following his 2007 conviction on gun, drug and assault charges. His non-jury trial featured only one witness for the prosecution, former Philadelphia police officer Graham, who was later added to a list of cops deemed untrustworthy witnesses by the District Attorney's office.
Graham also was found to have stolen money in a drug bust and lied to the FBI by Philadelphia Police Internal Affairs, according to reporting by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Superior Court noted that none of Graham's history of alleged misconduct was presented at Mill's original trial. The DA's office said it would not call on Graham again should there be a new trial.