On the second day of his trial in Stockholm, Sweden, US rapper A$AP Rocky told the court he "was just trying to escape a crazy situation" when he got involved in the street brawl that got him arrested, detained since July 3, and now put on trial for assault causing bodily harm. "We’re in a foreign country, we’re approached by two strangers with aggressive behavior … I don’t know what to expect when being attacked by strangers, that’s why I have security," the rapper, real name Rakim Mayers, testified Thursday. He says that when he and his group were approached by alleged victim Mustafa Jafari outside a restaurant on June 30, his bodyguard "tried to scare the guy but nothing worked. He seemed without fear; I thought he was on drugs. It was scary." The rapper says Jafari and a friend attacked his bodyguard before he got involved, the Guardian reports.
"I intervened. I threw him to the ground, stepped on his arm, kicked him. I punched or shoved him," he said. Jafari, 19, ended up in the hospital with a fractured rib and lacerations to his arms, legs, and head. He claimed he was hit on the head with a bottle, but Mayers says he just picked up the bottle so that Jafari and his friend wouldn't, and that he dropped it before throwing Jafari to the ground. TMZ, which has live updates, says the bottle issue seems to be the "centerpiece" of the case. Prosecutors say Mayers and two members of his entourage started the fight, but they have all pleaded not guilty and insist it was Jafari who first harassed them and they were simply trying to "defuse the situation and get away," per Mayers. President Trump has been heavily involved in the case, and CNN notes he sent the presidential hostage affairs envoy to observe the trial. It's scheduled to end Friday, at which point Mayers, 30, will remain in custody while awaiting a verdict. He faces up to two years in prison. (Much more on Trump's involvement here.)