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Jay-Z fighting to release man from 20-year jail sentence over weed


Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for City of Hope

Jay-Z‘s got 99 problems — and apparently, trying to get a fan released from jail is one. 

According to legal documents obtained by The New York Post, the rapper’s legal team has attempted not once, but twice, to get Valon Vailes released from prison. Vailes, 55, is currently serving a 20-year sentence in North Carolina with an additional 10-year supervised release for marijuana-related charges. 

The newspaper reports that attorney Alex Spiro filed a motion on Wednesday asking a North Carolina judge for the “compassionate release” of Vailes after the first request was denied due to his COVID-19 vaccination status.

Spiro argued, “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.”

Vailes was found guilt by a jury in December 2007 for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than a one ton of marijuana from 2003 to 2007. He first gained the attention of Jay-Z’s legal team after penning a letter to the rapper, who owns the cannibis company Monogram. 

In the letter, a copy of which the New York Post obtained, Vailes wrote, “This correspondence is a plea to ask for your help with the intent to campaign for my clemency…My family needs me home.”

Vailes also mentions that he has followed the “Empire State of Mind” rapper’s career and admires his advocacy for the “underprivileged and voiceless.”

Spiro is asking that the judge release Vailes on a sentence of time served. 

“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,” Spiro concluded. 

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