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Nicki Minaj's 2015 Court Testimony Transcript Outlines Meek Mill's Ongoing Parole Battle

The court documents reveal Minaj's sentiments during Meek's high-profile case.

On Nov. 8, 2017, Meek Mill began a two to four-year prison sentence in a Delaware County prison. The 30-year-old rapper was found guilty of violating his parole due to a scuffle at a St. Louis airport in March 2017. Five months later, he was detained for reckless endangerment for riding a dirt bike in New York City. During his parole case earlier this month, Judge Genece E. Brinkley said she gave the Philadelphia native "break after break, and you basically just thumbed your nose at this court," per Philly.com.

Since news of Meek - born Robert Williams - and his lengthy stint on parole resurfaced, thousands have shown their support in the form of petitions and a #FreeMeekMill rally in an effort to seek answers on his behalf. Past information that could possibly place Judge Brinkley's career in a negative space have also come to light - the FBI reportedly launched an investigation after Meek's legal team called for a probe into Brinkley's actions.

Now, since Williams' sentencing of solitary confinement, VIBE has obtained the court transcript of his former partner, Nicki Minaj's testimony during a Dec. 15, 2015 parole hearing for the MMG artist. Throughout the cross-examination conducted by Williams' former attorney Frank DeSimone and prosecutor Noel DeSantis, Minaj - born Onika Maraj - points out how a lack of adequate communication or clarification on the courts' end led to Williams' constant courthouse appearances. The pair were romantically linked at the time.

"Right now there's no one that really tells him what he can do. I don't even think he has an idea of, you know, what you would want to see him do or how we could all help in Philly," Maraj said to Judge Brinkley. "You know, we both have a strong fan base in Philadelphia. I really wish we could team up and go to the schools, speak to the kids, do free shows here, because he's such a great person. Like his lawyer said, he always credits you with saving his life, you know. He definitely knows that you've given him a chance to achieve his dreams and to take care of his family."

On Feb. 5. 2016, Dr. Damone Jones also testified on behalf of Williams' character. The senior pastor at Bibleway Baptist Church (West Philadelphia) and chair of the Board of Trustees for the Philadelphia Prison System said Williams was on a quest to turn his life around by mentoring "neglected children" at Wordsworth Academy.

"One young lady comes to mind about being raped, and he was able to try to help give her some kind of encouragement counsel," Jones said. "Another kid talked about some family issues in terms of being abandoned and neglected. He gave them encouragement...He really wanted to help the kids work through some of the issues."

Williams landed on a seemingly never-ending bout with parole at the age of 18 when he caught a drug and gun charge. When he was released after eight months, he managed to get his career up and running despite a 2012 arrest for marijuana possession. Shortly after the success of his debut studio album, Dreams and Nightmares, he landed back in court when he failed to get approval from Judge Brinkley to perform outside of his hometown. That placed him back in prison from July 2014 to December 2014.

Two years later, Williams reportedly failed to get the proper approval to travel outside of Philly and was tacked with 90 days of house arrest plus community service obligations, all stemming from his 10-year probation. The prosecutor alluded to the notion that Williams tried to keep up with Maraj's travel plans without getting written consent from his parole officer or Judge Brinkley. During her 2015 testimony, Maraj quickly disputed that claim.

"I know that you look on my Instagram and stuff like that, but I would be a fool to ask someone that I love to jeopardize his freedom to be with me," Maraj said. "We're going to be together regardless. I can fly anywhere he's at." The Pinkprint artist was then asked to explain Williams' stay in New York during Fashion Week 2015 when he was scheduled to travel to Miami for a performance, which he received approval for. Instead, prosecutor DeSantis said Williams remained with Maraj in NYC when he didn't have the permission to do so.

According to Maraj's recollection, she was aware of Williams' Miami obligation, but plans fell through when the "Pray For 'Em" rapper's engineer was unable to travel to the Florida city. "So we were like, 'Why would he fly to Miami and lose money and fly an entire entourage there?'" she questioned.

From New York City, Williams reportedly traveled back home to Philly, but even that gesture was a violation as Maraj was not aware that he needed the approval to do so. On Oct. 29, 2015, Judge Brinkley withdrew that mandate unbeknownst to Maraj.

"He's never purposely does anything or ever goes purposely against the rules or his violations," Maraj added. "He would never want to be away from his son and lose freedom just for a show or to be around me. Absolutely not."

Near the end of her testimony, the Queens native said a statement that Williams' supporters might find true. "I think there's so many ways that he could be utilized in Philly outside of going to jail," Maraj previously said. "I think that's really not beneficial."

Read the full testimony transcripts of Nicki Minaj and Dr. Damone Jones below.

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Man Exonerated After Serving 45 Years Forced To Sell Prison Artwork For Money

A Detroit man who served 45 years behind bars for a crime that he didn’t commit, is forced to sell his personal collection of artwork that he made in prison. Richard Phillips, 72, doesn’t have steady income at the moment, and his lawyer is currently battling the state of Michigan to get him compensated for the wrongful conviction that stole his freedom.

"I don't have an income right now," said Phillips while showing off his paintings to Fox 2 Detroit. "This is my income."

In the early 1970s, Phillips was wrongfully convicted for the murder of Gregory Harris. He was sentenced to life in prison but always maintained his innocence. “I would rather died in prison than admit to a crime I didn’t do,” Philips said.

Phillips was convicted through an eyewitness account implicating him and a second man, Richard Palombo. In 2010, Palombo admitted that Phillips had no involvement in the murder and that he didn’t even know him. A new investigation was launched in 2014, nearly 20 years later Phillips appealed his murder conviction.

Last March, Wayne County Prosecutors Kym Worthy dropped all charges against Phillips, officially freeing him from prison. “There’s nothing that I can say to bring back 40 years of his life. The system failed him. There’s no question about it,” Worthy said at the time. “This is a true exoneration. Justice is indeed being done today, but there’s nothing that we can do ... to bring back those years of his life.”

Art played a big part in helping maintain his sanity through the sentence. Though he remained optimistic, Phillips admitted that he never truly believed he would be released. To pass the time, he began painting. He pulled inspiration from everywhere: his favorite artists, photos and even tapped into some of the loneliness that he felt in prison. "It was created in a harsh environment. But it goes to show you that beauty can come from something ugly."

Last year, Detroit's Demond Ricks was awarded $1 million for spending 25 years in prison on a wrongful conviction. As it stands, Phillips is the longest-serving wrongfully convicted former prisoner in U.S. history.

Phillips' artwork will be on display at Michigan's Ferndale's Level One gallery beginning Jan. 18.

See more on his artwork in the video below.

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Gladys Knight Defends Decision To Perform National Anthem At Super Bowl Amid Criticism

Glad Knight says she wants to “give the National Anthem back its voice.” The music legend released a new statement defending her decision to sing  the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in Atlanta, next month, amid criticism from fans.

Several artists turned down offers to perform at the Super Bowl in protest of the league’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick. Knight clarified that her choice to sing has nothing to do with Kaepernick, and she doesn't exactly agree with the anthem being "dragged into the debate."

"I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things and they are police violence and injustice,” Knight said in a statement to Variety. “It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.”

The 74-year-old singer also noted that she has been on the forefront of social justice issues for much of her career. "I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words,” Knight said. “The way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good.

"No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it,” she continued. “I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us."

Knight isn’t alone in catching heat for joining the Super Bowl lineup. Travis Scott and Big Boi, both of whom will perform with Maroon 5 at halftime, received backlash as well.

Earlier in the week, reports surfaced claiming Scott had a meeting with Kaepernick that ended with “mutual respect” and “understanding.” Kaepernick’s girlfriend and Hot 97 DJ, Nessa Diab, denied the report tweeting, “There is NO mutual respect and there is NO understanding for anyone working against @Kaepernick7 PERIOD. #stoplying.”

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Wendy Williams Postpones Show Return Due To “Complications” From Graves’ Disease

Wendy Williams is promising to get back to The Wendy Williams Show by the end of January, after delaying her return two previous times.

Williams announced another extended hiatus from her talk show as she continues recovering from a shoulder injury and recent “complications” brought on by Graves' disease, according to a statement posted to the show’s Instagram account Friday (Jan. 18).

“Over the past few days, Wendy has experienced complications regarding her Graves’ Disease that will require treatment,” reads the statement. “Wendy will be under the strict supervision of her physicians, and as part of her care, there will be significant time spent in the hospital. Despite her strong desire to return, she is taking a necessary, extended break from her show to focus on her personal and physical well-being.

“Wendy thanks everyone in advance for their well-wishes and for respecting her and The Hunter Family's privacy during this time.”

The statement included a message of support from Debmar-Mercury, the company that syndicates The Wendy Williams Show. “We wholeheartedly support Wendy in this decision to take the time she needs and we will welcome her back with open arms the moment she is ready.”

Williams will return with new episodes the week of Jan. 28.

 

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A Note from The Hunter Family As Wendy Williams Hunter previously shared, she fractured her shoulder and has been on the mend. Over the past few days, Wendy has experienced complications regarding her Graves’ Disease that will require treatment. Wendy will be under the strict supervision of her physicians, and as part of her care, there will be significant time spent in the hospital. Despite her strong desire to return, she is taking a necessary, extended break from her show to focus on her personal and physical well-being. Wendy thanks everyone in advance for their well-wishes and for respecting her and The Hunter Family's privacy during this time. Statement from Debmar-Mercury For over ten years, Wendy has been a vital part of the Debmar-Mercury family. We wholeheartedly support Wendy in this decision to take the time she needs and we will welcome her back with open arms the moment she is ready. The Wendy Williams Show will air repeat episodes the week of January 21st and will produce original episodes with a variety of hosts starting the week of January 28th.

A post shared by Wendy Williams (@wendyshow) on Jan 18, 2019 at 9:34am PST

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