JAY-Z and his legal team are working toward the release of a fan who is serving a 20-year prison sentence related to a marijuana-related conviction. On Wednesday (Sept. 29), Page Six broke the news that Hov’s legal team requested the “compassionate release” of inmate Valon Vailes on two separate occasions.
In August, per the report, JAY’s attorney, Alex Spiro, filed a motion asking a North Carolina court to release Vailes — “a model inmate” who “desperately needs his support and assistance, and he does not present a recidivism risk.” U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney dismissed the request, citing the inmate’s vaccination record.
In a second plea for Vailes’ release, Spiro noted that the motion did not use arguments related to COVID-19 to ask for a reduced sentence. Instead, he explained that the inmate should be released because he is “not a danger to community.” Hov’s lawyer also claimed that he is “the sole available caretaker for his mentally ill brother whom is in desperate need of” his assistance.
“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,” read the second request, which was filed on Wednesday.
Vailes was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and 10 years of supervised release following his conviction. In 2007, he was found guilty of conspiring to possess was found guilty by a jury for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than one ton of marijuana from 2003 to 2007.
The case came to JAY’s attention after Vailes penned a letter to the Brooklyn rapper.
“This correspondence is a plea to ask for your help with the intent to campaign for my clemency,” he wrote back in February. “13 and a half years is a long time to be still incarcerated over a substance that has become the ultimate green rush.” He also opened up about the losses he experienced while he was incarcerated and praised Hov for his work toward prison reform. JAY reportedly gathered Spiro and employees of his weed company Monogram to help him in fighting for the commutation of Vailes’ 20-year prison sentence.