Mayor Kenney visits Meek Mill in prison

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Rapper Meek Mill arrives at the criminal justice center in Philadelphia, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. A Philadelphia judge has sentenced rapper Mill to two to four years in state prison for violating probation in a nearly decade-old gun and drug case. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) FILE – At left, in a Nov. 6, 2017, file photo, rapper Meek Mill arrives at the criminal justice center in Philadelphia. At right, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney speaks at a press conference at Philadelphia City Hall on Jan. 23, 2018.

The #FreeMeekMill campaign has reached City Hall.

Mayor Kenney on Wednesday morning visited Meek Mill at the state prison in Chester, according to his office, joining a roster of athletes, celebrities, and business moguls who have recently spent time behind bars with the imprisoned rapper.

Kenney’s spokeswoman, Ajeenah Amir, said the mayor spent about an hour with Mill after being invited to the penitentiary by Michael Rubin, the billionaire co-owner of the 76ers, who has become one of Mill’s biggest advocates.

Kenney “believes [Mill] would better serve the community outside of prison, and that his case makes clear and urgent the desperate need to continue working with our partners to reform the criminal justice system,” she said in an email.

Later Wednesday, she said Kenney isn’t supporting the campaign for Mill’s immediate release, but rather “shares [Rubin’s] belief, nothing more than that.” Amir said the Mayor was not available to discuss his visit.

Kenney’s support — which comes several weeks after Gov. Wolf tweeted to back Mill’s release — adds another high-profile name to the entertainer’s supporters. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft visited Mill in prison on Tuesday, while 76ers players Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz have visited him since his November imprisonment.

But even support from such lofty perches is unlikely to have much of an impact on whether the rapper can win his freedom. That decision rests with the judge overseeing his case.

Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley in November sent Mill back to prison for two to four years for violating the terms of his probation from a 2008 conviction on drug and gun charges.

Her sentence — which went against the recommendations of prosecutors and Mill’s probation officer at the time — sparked immediate public backlash, and his supporters have spent months slamming Brinkley with accusations of ethical improprieties while petitioning to have her removed from the case.

Last month, District Attorney Larry Krasner gave Mill a reason for optimism, saying his office had questions about whether the rapper’s decade-old conviction would withstand his most recent appeal efforts. Krasner also said he had no issue with Mill’s being released while the appeal was litigated.

The judge has ordered Mill’s legal team to return to court Monday for a status hearing, though it was not immediately clear what issues might be discussed.