Outcry Dismissed, Sweden Puts A$AP Rocky on Trial

Rapper's assault trial has started in Stockholm despite Trump's efforts to free him
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2019 6:32 AM CDT
Rapper Trump Tried to Free Pleads Not Guilty to Assault
Renee Black, second from left, ASAP Rocky's mother, arrives at the district court where the US rapper was set to appear on charges of assault in Stockholm on Tuesday.   (Fredrik Persson / TT via AP)

It's been a long month for A$AP Rocky, detained by Swedish officials after allegedly attacking someone in a street fight at the end of June, and on Tuesday, the next phase of his overseas experience began. The 30-year-old American rapper, real name Rakim Mayers, pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial to charges that he, along with two members of his entourage, assaulted Mustafa Jafari outside a Stockholm burger joint on June 30, per the Guardian. An attorney for Rocky argued his client did indeed "[throw] the plaintiff on the ground [and] stepped on his arm and punched or pushed his shoulder," but that it was in self-defense after Jafari harassed him. Prosecutors pulled up CCTV and phone video showing the assault, which they say was carried out with a glass bottle, as well as pictures of Jafari's injuries, said to have included a broken rib and lacerations on his head and limbs.

They say Jafari didn't provoke anything and that the scuffle started when one of Rocky's bodyguards "grabbed [Jafari] by the neck and dragged him away." The case "snowballed into an international incident," per the New York Times, after Kanye West apparently spoke to President Trump about it—Kim Kardashian West reportedly also spoke to Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner—and Trump intervened, calling the Swedish prime minister in an attempt to free the rapper (it didn't work). TMZ, which has video of the incident, reports Jafari, 19, was himself convicted of criminal assault in Sweden three years ago, as well as for two later drug offenses that were minor. CBS News reports the trial is set to continue through Friday. Rocky and the other two men each face up to two years behind bars if convicted. (An A$AP Rocky fan was recently arrested for allegedly threatening to "blow this motherf---er up.")

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