A$AP Rocky caused an international incident last month in Sweden. His crew allegedly got into a brawl on the streets of Stockholm, landing the rapper in jail. Could his case cause a major rift between the United States and Sweden? Signs point to ja!
A$AP Rocky–real name Rakim Mayers–pleaded not guilty to assault on Tuesday. He claims that he was just defending himself. The rapper arrived in court wearing a green t-shirt and sweatpants to make his case to the Swedish judge. If found guilty, he could face up to 2 years in prison. However, the prosecution is reportedly not likely to push for the maximum sentence.
The Swedish public prosecutor, Daniel Suneson, alleges that A$AP Rocky and members of his entourage attacked 2 men on the street, including kicking 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari while he was down and beating him with a glass bottle.
The victim told the court that he had suffered broken ribs along with multiple lesser injuries. “I felt that they would beat me to death,” he said.
The victim is seeking just under $15,000 in damages from the incident–which, if we’re being honest, is a couple of zeroes short of what you’d expect to see if this trial was happening in America.
A$AP Rocky’s lawyer claims that the video evidence produced by the prosecution–which left people in the courtroom visibly shaken–actually helps exonerate his client. The rapper can allegedly be heard on the tape telling his friends, “Listen, listen. We don’t wanna fight you all. We’re not trying to go to jail.”
The defense also pointed out that the alleged victims have well-documented histories of lawbreaking, and that the rapper and his entourage legitimately feared for their lives.
The incident has blown up in a big way, with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, among other celebrities, personally asking Donald Trump to intervene. Frustrated by the lack of a response, he tweeted, “Give A$AP Rocky his FREEDOM. We do so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around. Sweden should focus on its real crime problem!”
When the Swedish government refused to release A$AP Rocky, Trump decided to send a special diplomatic envoy to oversee the case. Ambassador Robert O’Brian is a leading hostage negotiator, which seems like overkill for an otherwise routine assault charge.
However, the Wu-Tang Clann’s RZA told reporters that he was “disappointed that a judge cannot discern that this is not a man you hold hostage.” So maybe a hostage negotiator is exactly what this situation calls for. We’ll keep you posted as the trial unfolds.