Rapper Jay-Z is fighting for the release of a man currently serving 20 years in prison over marijuana.
According to Page Six, the rapper’s legal team has made a plea twice to a North Carolina judge asking for the “compassionate release” of a man serving a 20-year prison sentence over marijuana charges.
In court documents that were submitted this week and obtained by Page Six, attorney Alex Spiro filed a second motion, asking the court to reconsider their previous request.
One had had been dismissed due to inmate Valon Vailes’ COVID-19 vaccination record.
“Mr. Vailes’ motion for compassionate release does not mention COVID-19 and does not rely on any COVID-19-related argument as a basis for arguing in favor of a reduced sentence,” Spiro argued.
Vailes, now 55, was found guilty in 2007 by a jury for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than one ton of marijuana from 2003 to 2007. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison with an additional 10-year supervised release.
Vailes had penned an emotional letter to the” Empire State of Mind” rapper, who is the proud owner of the Cannabis company Monogram.
Page Six obtained an exclusive copy of this letter, in which Vailes wrote from New York’s Otisville Correctional Facility back in February.
“This correspondence is a plea to ask for your help with the intent to campaign for my clemency,” the letter read. “13 and a half years is a long time to be still incarcerated over a substance that has become the ultimate green rush.”
Vailes wrote, “My family needs me home.”
“While incarcerated, I have lost loved ones,” he explained. “My mother passed in 2020; my grandmother in 2009; my nephew in 2020. Also, my best friend died from COVID in 2021. I have four children, the youngest is 1.4, and 3 grand-daughters.”
“A lot has changed in my life, but most importantly, I have a newfound view of society,” Vailes claimed. “Therefore, I pledge to my family, my children, and myself that my incarceration would not be in vain.”
It is a bittersweet reality that I am a casualty and a commodity of this system filled with injustice,” he wrote.
Jay-Z immediately rallied Spiro and his team at Monogram to file a petition on the prisoner’s behalf.
“It is clear that this court does not even take the time to read the pleadings of the accused and forgotten,” a source told Page Six. “It shouldn’t take Jay-Z and Monogram to hold them accountable.”
“Mr. Vailes has exhausted his administrative remedies with the [Federal Bureau of Prisons]; extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant compassionate release in his case; the relevant factors support release; and Mr. Vailes is not a danger to the community,” the attorney argued.
He added, “Mr. Vailes is the sole available caretaker for his mentally ill brother whom is in desperate need of Mr. Vailes’ support.
The attorney also said, “It is unjust to allow Mr. Vailes to remain in prison when, if sentenced under the current law, and with his good behavior credits, he would have already been released.”