He entered a Philadelphia courtroom Monday as hip-hop superstar Meek Mill and left it under his given name, Robert Williams, sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating his probation.
On Wednesday, he added a new alias – Pennsylvania Inmate ND8400 — and exchanged his black suit for a yellow prison uniform as he checked in at the state prison at Camp Hill, near Harrisburg.
Even as his lawyers and fans flooded the internet with protests and condemnations of the judge who imprisoned him, Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley, Mill faced a grimmer, more sobering reality.
After being chastised by Brinkley for repeatedly violating his probation and “thumbing your nose at this court,” Mill, 30, was immediately taken into custody. He was moved Tuesday from the city’s Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in the Northeast to Graterford Prison.
From there, he was moved to Camp Hill. There, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton, Mill will undergo a series of evaluations and diagnostic tests before being assigned to a prison, where he will serve at least the next two years, when he becomes eligible for parole.
Meanwhile, supporters of the imprisoned Philadelphia rapper boasted Wednesday that more than 17,000 people had signed a “Care2” petition online demanding that Brinkley be disbarred.
And New York City lawyer Joe Tacopina, who said he was one of Mill’s attorneys, accused Brinkley of acting on a vendetta against Mill. Tacopina told the New York Times that Brinkley behaved inappropriately over the course of the case, including giving the singer unsolicited advice about who should manage his career.
In an interview Wednesday with the Inquirer and Daily News, the lawyer also claimed that during a private meeting last year, Brinkley asked Mill to record a version of a Boyz II Men ballad called “On Bended Knee” and to mention the judge in it.
According to Tacopina, Mill laughed off the request, telling the judge, “I can’t do that. It’s not my music. I don’t sing that stuff. And I don’t do, like, you know, shout-outs to people in my songs.”
He said Brinkley responded by saying: “OK, suit yourself.’”
A spokesman for Tacopina, however, said he did not know if Tacopina had filed a complaint against the judge with the state Judicial Conduct Board, or intended to.
Tacopina’s allegations referred to an in-chambers meeting during a Feb. 5, 2016, probation violation hearing that was requested by Mill and his then-attorney Frank DeSimone.
DeSimone, according to a court document, told Brinkley that Mill wanted to discuss his required community service but “would feel more comfortable relaying some of his thoughts and experiences” to the judge in private.
The transcript of that closed proceeding also was sealed at Mill’s and DeSimone’s requests. The only people in the meeting other than the judge and court stenographer were Mill and his then-girlfriend, hip-hop superstar Nicki Minaj; DeSimone; and Assistant District Attorney Noel A. DeSantis.
DeSimone could not be reached for comment and DeSantis said she could not comment because the proceeding was sealed.
Brinkley has not commented on the whirlwind that began after she sentenced Mill to prison. On Wednesday, Gabriel Roberts, a spokesman for the Philadelphia court system, issued a statement on her behalf that said: “Because this matter is subject to future litigation, there will be no comment at this time.”
Brinkley was a lawyer in private practice from 1987 until 1993, when she was elected to Common Pleas Court. When she ran for retention to the court in November 2013 for a term that will expire in 2023, she won 77 percent of the vote.
According to law.com, she’s a Democrat with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College in Atlanta and a law degree from Temple University.
Brinkley has overseen Mill’s case for a decade, since he was arrested at age 19 on drug and gun counts, and has encouraged him to pursue his artistic career while periodically locking him up for violating the terms of his probation.
At one point in 2013, Brinkley ordered Mill to take etiquette lessons so he would know how to act in public and online after he complained in internet posts about the judge, the prosecutor, and his probation officer in less-than-flattering street slang.
In sending Mill to prison, Brinkley cited technical probation violations, including misdemeanor arrests in New York City and St. Louis and providing a urine specimen that showed he was using the prescription narcotic Percocet. She also cited him and his managers for repeatedly scheduling concerts after her Aug. 17 order barring performances outside Philadelphia and Montgomery County.
Mill acknowledged that he went into treatment this year for addiction to Percocet. At the time, he threw himself on the mercy of the court, telling Brinkley, “I’m human, I’m not perfect.”
After Monday’s hearing, Mill’s lawyer, Brian J. McMonagle, said he intended to appeal the sentence. He was not available for comment Wednesday.
Staff writer Jenice Armstrong contributed to this article.