Green’s Dictionary of Slang

meatball adj.

1. (US Und.) used of a criminal charge for a petty crime, e.g., meatball beef, meatball rap [the smallness or commonness, thus unimportance, of the food].

[UK] in A. Hassler Diary of a Self-Made Convict (1955) 65: ‘Nine years a square John,’ he burst out at me, ‘and now I’m in on a meatball rap!’.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Golden Spike 240: ‘They caught me with a set of works.’ ‘Aw, that’s a meatball rap, you’ll get out tomorrow.’.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 133: Armed robbery is no meatball rap.
J.D. Harris Junkie Priest 83: The arrest was a frame, a meatball rap, but you took it in your stride .
[US]M. Braly False Starts 186: It was a meatball beef.
D. Hamill Stomping Ground 168: A meatball charge like underage drinking [HDAS].
[US] E. E. Bunker Mr Blue 264: This meatball case could be stalled for many months.

2. (US) stupid [meatball n. (1)].

R. Hardman Chaplains Raid 7: In all of recorded United States Marine Corps history has there ever been such a meatball deal? [HDAS].
H. Kissinger in Woodward & Bernstein Final Days 188: You tell our meatball President I’ll be there in a few minutes .