U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky awaits verdict on Sweden brawl
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – American rapper A$AP Rocky learns his fate on Wednesday in a trial over a street brawl in Sweden that led U.S. President Donald Trump to champion his cause.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. rapper ASAP Rocky attends the Alexander Wang Spring/Summer 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week, September 8, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton/File Photo
The musician, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and two members of his entourage were detained and charged with assault after an altercation in Stockholm on June 30.
The rapper said he acted in self-defense, and the three were released from custody earlier this month, pointing to a possible acquittal or light sentence in the court’s final verdict due around 1200 GMT.
Mayers, 30, left Sweden after being released and does not have to be present for the ruling.
“Hopefully we won’t have to go back to jail or nothing like that, that would be crazy,” he said from stage on Sunday at the Real Street Festival in California, making his first public appearance since being freed.
“It was an unfortunate event and I’m just trying to stay blessed.”
The prosecutor wants six-month jail terms for Mayers and the two co-defendants for beating up a 19-year-old man called Mustafa Jafari.
The case has drawn global attention, particularly since Trump said Mayers was being treated unfairly and asked Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to help free him.
Lofven declined, saying Sweden’s judiciary was independent.
Various celebrities had also called for his release and some fellow rappers proposed a boycott of Sweden.
The prosecution said that after an argument, Mayers threw Jafari to the ground, after which he and the two others kicked and punched the teenager.
In his testimony, Jafari said he was also hit on the head with a bottle after he followed Mayers’ group.
Mayers acknowledged in court that he threw Jafari to the ground and punched and kicked him, but said the teenager had attacked his bodyguard. He said he had tried to avoid the fight and denied hitting Jafari with a bottle.
Mayers, best known for his song “Praise the Lord”, had been in Stockholm for a hip hop concert.
Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne