People in the News
Court won’t remove judge, tells Meek Mill to appeal
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied a motion from rapper Meek Mill to remove a Philadelphia judge from his case after she denied his request for a new trial.
The court said Tuesday Mill’s attorneys must go through the regular process of appealing Judge Genece Brinkley’s decision, despite their argument she’d been biased.
Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, has asked that his decade-old drug and gun convictions be thrown out because of credibility issues with the officer who testified against him. His lawyers noted several other convictions involving the same officer have been thrown out by a different judge and the district attorney’s office supported the request.
Mill’s attorneys say they will now ask the state Superior Court to hear their appeal.
An attorney for Brinkley says the denial is “absolutely no surprise.”
Drake visits patient, 11, who invited him to her birthday
CHICAGO (AP) — A suburban Chicago girl awaiting a heart transplant has danced her way into a meeting with Drake.
The Canadian rapper visited 11-year-old Sofia Sanchez on Monday at the Lurie Children’s Hospital during his tour’s stop in Chicago. He shared photos on Instagram, saying they had talked about Justin Bieber and basketball.
Drake visited Sanchez after seeing the Downers Grove girl’s video version of his song, “In My Feelings,” which inspired a viral dance craze.
In her video, Sanchez dances in a hospital hallway while tethered to her IV pump, and she says she loves Drake’s music and asks if he can come cheer her up for her birthday. She turned 11 on Saturday.
Court says rap video
was threat to police
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A rapper convicted of threatening police officers in a video posted online lost an appeal Tuesday when Pennsylvania’s highest court called his lyrics “highly personalized” and ruled they were not protected by free speech rights.
The state Supreme Court turned down Jamal Knox’s appeal of his conviction for witness intimidation and terroristic threats for the video that named two Pittsburgh officers.
The justices said Knox, 24, described how he intended to kill the two officers in the song.
“In this way, the lyrics are both threatening and highly personalized to the victims,” wrote Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, adding that Knox spoke of when the officers’ shifts ended and his plans to attack them “where you sleep.”
Knox was awaiting trial when an officer found a YouTube video in 2012 of the song, which Knox argued was strictly artistic in nature and not intended as a threat to police. He denied posting it and said he did not intend it to be disseminated publicly.
Knox was facing drug charges after a chase in which he hit a parked car and a fence. Police recovered 15 bags of heroin and $1,500 on Knox and a stolen, loaded gun in the vehicle.
The song, performed under the name Mayhem Mal of the Ghetto Superstar Committee, includes the lines: “I got my Glock and best believe dog gonna bring the pump out and I’m hittin’ your chest,” as well as, “Let’s kill these cops ’cause they don’t do us no good.”
The song also references Richard Poplawski, who is on death row for the 2009 murder of three Pittsburgh police officers.
The video was taken down from YouTube after three days.
Saylor said the lyrics did not amount to political, social or academic commentary and did not appear to be satire or ironic.
“Rather, they primarily portray violence toward the police, ostensibly due to the officers’ interference” with his activities, Saylor wrote.
One of the officers said the video shocked him and was among the reasons he left the department and relocated, Saylor said. The other officer received additional security.
Knox’s lawyer offered no immediate comment, and the Allegheny County district attorney’s office declined to comment, saying the decision had not been fully reviewed.