Meek Mill was released from prison Tuesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered his immediate release, his lawyer said in a statement. The state’s highest court directed a judge who jailed him to release the rapper on “unsecured bail.”
The 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Robert Williams, tweeted thanking his family and public advocates — who included Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and rapper Jay-Z — and said he looks forward to returning to his music career.
Michael Rubin, co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team and the New Jersey Devils NHL team, reportedly picked up Mill from prison and boarded a helicopter. Rubin has been one of Mill’s many supporters and visited him several times in jail.
The 76ers later posted photos of Mill in the locker room showing him embrace 76ers guards JJ Redick and Markelle Fultz.
Meek Mill thanks supporters
Mill tweeted saying his time in jail had “been a nightmare” and that he will work with his legal team overturn his “unwarranted conviction.”
Why was Meek Mill in jail?
In November, Mill was sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating probation on a nearly decade-old gun and drug case.
Judge Genece Brinkley, who sentenced Mill for the probation violation, said he had wasted several chances to clean up his act after a 2009 gun and drug case. The sentence came against the recommendation of the prosecutor, who said Mill had matured since his original crime. Brinkley said the prosecutor did not know the case as well as she did and that Mill just “does what he wants.”at the time in protest.
Mill was arrested twice — once in St. Louis for an alleged altercation in the airport and another time for alleged reckless driving in New York City involving a dirt bike.
Kevin Hart’s support for Meek Mill
Earlier Tuesday, fellow Philadelphian and comedian Kevin Hart was at the jail to visit Mill, CBS Philadelphia reports.
“The frustration for me is, why is he still there? I still don’t understand why he’s still in jail after so much has been pointed out,” Hart told reporters after his visit with Mill.
“I think the good with the situation is that he now has a platform. And I think coming out, he will be able to use that platform to really shine a light on how corrupt this system is and hopefully also keep this younger generation from going through this. And also, a lot of people that are incarcerated now that are doing unnecessary time.”
Hart said his relationship with Mill is strong and that he views the rapper as innocent.
“When you know that you’re innocent, it’s tough to sit through something that you know that you didn’t do,” Hart said.
Jay-Z’s support for Meek Mill
Jay-Z wrote an op-ed in thein November and called the rapper’s sentence “just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day.”
Jay-Z wrote that Mill has been “stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside” and said that when he was growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s and 1980s, he saw that probation became a “landmine” for many. He pointed out that a “random misstep” could bring consequences greater than the crime.
“A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew,” wrote Jay-Z. He pointed out, “As of 2015, one-third of the 4.65 million Americans who were on some form of parole or probation were black. Black people are sent to prison for probation and parole violations at much higher rates than white people.”
On Nov. 7, Jay-Z stopped his concert in Dallas to say of Mill, “He caught a charge when he was, like, 19. He’s 30 now, he’s been on probation for 11 years. F***ing 11 years. Judge gave him two to four years because he got arrested for being on a bike and popping a f***ing wheelie.”
CBS News’ Gisela Perez and Cassandra Gauthier contributed to this report.
© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.