A$AP Rocky pleaded not guilty to assault charges in Sweden during his opening trial date in Stockholm, Sweden on Tuesday. The rapper and two other individuals, Bladimir Emilio Corniel and David Tyrone Rispers, have been charged with assault for allegedly throwing a man, 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari, across a street during an altercation in Stockholm last month.
The rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, appeared in court wearing dark green standard-issue clothing from the Swedish Prison and Probation Service. Through his attorney, Slobodon Jovicic, Mayers, who did not speak at the trial, claimed he acted in self-defense.
The Stockholm courtroom became a spectacle, as the trial was delayed due to the number of journalists that attempted to enter the courthouse. Some spectators were sent home due to lack of room.
On Tuesday, Prosecutor Daniel Suneson presented several videos, which allegedly showed parts of the incident, photos of the wounds Jafari claims were inflicted during the incident as well as text messages allegedly sent between people in Mayers’ entourage. “They assaulted the injured party, intentionally, together and in collusion,” Suneson told the court. Jafari claimed in court that he had become separated from a friend and asked the rapper’s crew if they had seen his friend. Jafari claimed the rapper’s bodyguard pushed him and lifted him off the ground by the throat. After the bodyguard broke Jafari’s headphones, Jafari says he followed the rapper’s crew to complain. Jovicic countered, claiming that Jafari broke the headphones himself. Jafari claimed he was hit with a bottle as the rapper and his crew kicked and punched him, he said.
Jovicic said that Mayers and his group feared that Jafari would seriously hurt them, citing that he allegedly followed them and they claimed he had also displayed signs of violence. He denied that the rapper or the two other defendants used a bottle as a weapon.
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Mayers’ detention — he has been in Swedish custody since July 3rd — has brought high-profile attention from both fans and celebrities, with President Trump getting involved after Kim Kardashian and Kanye West reached out to the White House on Mayers’ behalf. Trump said via Twitter that he reached out to Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to vouch for the rapper and shortly after the charges were filed, the president criticized the Prime Minister. A spokesperson for the Swedish government rebuked Trump’s criticism, saying the country does not want politics to interfere with a judicial hearing.
On Tuesday, Swedish news agency TT reported Trump had sent U.S. special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, Ambassador Robert O’Brien, to Stockholm to attend and monitor the trial as well as show support for the rapper, Associated Press reports. Mayers’ mother, Renee Black, was also in attendance.
“Ambassador O’Brien is traveling at the request of the White House,” a State Department spokesperson told AP. “One of the most important tasks of the Department of State and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad is to provide assistance to U.S. citizens who are detained abroad.”
The trial is scheduled to continue on Thursday and is expected to wrap up by the end of the week.