Wednesday 21 August 2019

Details emerge of Swedish ‘assault’ case against detained rapper ASAP Rocky

President Donald Trump has expressed dismay that the performer has not been released.

File picture of A$AP Rocky (Richard Shotwell?AP)
File picture of A$AP Rocky (Richard Shotwell?AP)

By Jari Tanner, Associated Press

Swedish authorities have released court documents in the assault case in which American rapper ASAP Rocky and two other men are charged, with prosecutors saying that the victim was punched and kicked while on the ground and attacked with a bottle.

Rakim Mayers, the 30-year-old rapper’s real name, and two other suspects “deliberately, together and in agreement” assaulted the victim in central Stockholm on June 30, prosecutors said in documents from the Stockholm District Court.

The 500 pages of documents, in which prosecutors also said that Rocky pushed the man to the ground, included photos of the victim’s injuries, mostly cuts and bruises, and blood-stained clothes.

The rapper, who has been in custody since July 2, has asserted that it was self-defence.

The charges can carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

The case has sparked an unusual diplomatic spat between the US and Sweden, after President Donald Trump called for Rocky to be released.

Prosecutors charged Rocky on Thursday, prompting Mr Trump to send two sharply-worded tweets, calling on Sweden to “Treat Americans fairly!” and criticising Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven, whom he had personally lobbied, “for being unable to act”.

A Lofven spokesman responded by emphasising the independence of the Swedish judicial system.

Rocky, a platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated artist who has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B, Drake and Selena Gomez, has been in custody since July 3 as authorities investigate the fight.

The case has also drawn the attention of a long list of US celebrities, including Sean “Diddy” Combs, Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian West.

Mr Trump on Saturday tweeted that he had spoken with Mr Lofven about the case and “offered to personally vouch for his bail”, even though that is not something available under Swedish law.

A man displays posters in support of US rapper ASAP Rocky (Fredrik Persson/AP)

Urged on by the first lady and celebrities including Kardashian West, the president had said that he would intervene to try to free Rocky.

Mr Lofven’s press secretary, Toni Eriksson, later said the two leaders had a “friendly and respectful” conversation in which Mr Lofven “made certain to emphasise the complete independence of the Swedish judicial system, prosecutors and courts” and stressed that the government cannot and will not attempt to influence the legal proceedings.

The rapper and the other two suspects, who have been described as members of his entourage, will remain in custody until trial.

Prosecutor have recommended that the Stockholm District Court set aside three days for the trial, which defence lawyer Slobodan Jovicic said is expected to start on Tuesday.

PA Media

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