A$AP Rocky celebrated with a high five as he and the two men accused of assault in Sweden in June were allowed to walk free until a verdict is delivered on August 14.
The American rapper, real name Rakim Mayers, had been detained after the June 30 incident and on Friday Swedish prosecutors said that they should be jailed for six months as they summed up their evidence at the end of his assault trial.
But Mayers and two co-accused – David Rispers Jr and Bladimir Corniel – walked despite the prosecution claiming they ‘used more violence than was needed’ as he apparently tried to break up a brawl in Stockholm.
He was seen grinning as his lawyer Martin Persson accompanied him into a car as they left Stockholm District Court.
US President Donald Trump – who had asked the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to release Mayers but was denied – was happy with the decision.
He cracked jokes around the New York musician’s stage name and joked it had been a ‘Rocky Week’ and ordered him to get home as soon as possible.
Trump tweeted: ‘A$AP Rocky released from prison and on his way home to the United States from Sweden. It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!’
A$AP Rocky and the two men accused of assault in Sweden in June have been allowed to walk free until a verdict is delivered in the trial on August 14. The rapper is seen celebrating with his lawyer Martin Persson
US President was happy with the verdict and joked for A$AP to ‘get home ASAP’
Fans celebrate outside the courthouse after the news that A$AP Rocky will be released on the third day of the A$AP Rocky assault trial
Mayers and two co-accused – David Rispers Jr (right) and Bladimir Corniel (left) – walked Friday
Considered by the court to be a ‘flight risk’, the rapper had been held in custody since his arrest. But it wasn’t immediately clear whether he would leave the county after the decision Friday by Stockholm District Court, as he had mentioned in court he would like to meet with Swedish artists.
The US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Robert C. O’Brien, was sent to attend the trial.
The case has also drawn the attention of celebrities, including Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Justin Bieber, and a social media campaign has been pressing for the rapper’s release.
Around 20 fans gathered outside the courthouse Friday, shouting ‘Free Rocky’ and ‘Free Flacko,’ invoking the 30-year-old rapper’s different nicknames while playing the F***in Problems hitmaker’s music songs over loudspeakers.
The court allocated an extra room to accommodate the public wanting to watch through a video link. The courtroom gallery is reserved for media and the defendants’ families.
The accused admit getting into a fight with 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari, but say they acted in self-defense because he would not stop harassing them.
Renee Black (R), mother of ASAP Rocky, leave the district court in Stockholm, Sweden Friday
A$AP Rocky’s defence lawyer Slobodan Jovicic leaves the district court after the third day of his trial in Stockholm
Timothy Williams, bodyguard to A$AP Rocky who was initially arrested but later released, leaves court
Prosecutor Daniel Suneson told the court in his closing arguments that the accused did not seem ‘scared’ like he had claimed, and argued that there was never a need for self-defense.
‘I don’t see how anything but prison is up for discussion,’ Suneson said. ‘The court should reach the conclusion that the assault… should have a penalty of about six months.’
The prosecution says that after an argument, Mayers threw Mustafa Jafari to the ground, after which he and two of his entourage 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 to retrieve his headphones.
Mayers acknowledged in court on Thursday 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 said he had been scared for his group after they were followed by Jafari and his friend.
An online petition called #JusticeForRocky has garnered more than 640,000 signatures and social media campaigns have urged fans of the New York musician to boycott Swedish brands such as IKEA.
US President Donald Trump repeatedly asked the Swedish Prime Minister to help free Mayers but Sweden’s judiciary is independent of the political system and Lofven said he would not influence the case.
The trio was free despite the prosecution claiming they ‘used more violence than was needed’ as he tried to break up a brawl in Stockholm. Pictured, left, is video from the day of the brawl. Right is the man accusing them of assault
During the day, two women who initially told police they had seen Rocky use a bottle in the brawl admitted that they hadn’t seen it – and had only heard the glass break
A video of the brawl shows ASAP Rocky throwing a man to the floor and punching him, but footage released by the rapper himself shows two men following him and throwing the first blow at his security
But Suneson was adamant the musician be locked up.
‘We have three people who throw out punches and kicks against a person who is lying down,’ Suneson said. ‘Their violence is clearly indefensible.’
‘These three should be found guilty of assault, I have disproved their argument of self-defense,’ Suneson said, according to Swedish site Expressen.
‘It cannot have been self defense as they were five against two’, he added, indicating that Rocky was accompanied by his bodyguard and another person while Jafari was only accompanied by friend Dawod Hosseini.
The prosecutor spoke after a final day of witness testimony which focused on whether or not a bottle was used in the brawl.
Renee Black, the rapper’s mother, was among those in Stockholm District Court, having attended every day of her son’s trial so-far
Dave Rispers Sr. arrives at the courthouse during the third day of the assault trial
Robert C. OBrien, special envoy sent by Donald Trump, arrives at Stockholm District Court
During the day, two women who initially told police they had seen Rocky use a bottle in the brawl admitted that they hadn’t seen it – and had only heard the glass break.
There was talk over whether the bottle brought to corroborate the story matched the injuries of the plaintiff.
She said she heard the bottle being crushed, though she couldn’t say whether Mayers’ entourage threw the bottle to the ground or hit Jafari with it.
One witness mentioned him being hit with a bottle five times according to a police report.
‘Everything happened very quickly. We were scared for our lives,’ the first anonymous woman told the court in Swedish. ‘He (Jafari) was bleeding. He showed his injuries on his hand. He also said he had a sore back.’
The plaintiff is demanding 139,000 krona in damages, which is about $14,500, however the defense has claimed that’s too much.
A$AP Rocky said he would accept community service, stating: ‘You know my address, you know my lawyer’s address…I’m into charity work.’
Jafari’s co-worker testified he hasn’t been able to sleep since the incident and has been felling mentally ill.
Mayers has admitted that he and his friends picked up bottles, but said they only did it to stop Jafari getting hold of them and put them down moments later.
Mayers was arrested on July 3 following the brawl in Stockholm on June 30. He has been in jail since then in a case that has caused celebrity outcry and a diplomatic rift between Sweden and the US.
Testimony focused on whether bottle was used during brawl between rapper’s entourage and 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari in Stockholm on June 30. A$AP Rocky is pictured September 2018
People waiting in line to enter the courthouse during the third day of the Rocky assault trial
He was charged with assault which carries a maximum of two years in jail, with a verdict expected on Friday. Deliberations were expected to last at least one hour to determine whether the music star should remain detained in Sweden where he traveled for a concert.
It could take up to two weeks for a verdict.
When Mayers arrived in court for the third day of the trial he was dressed in a dark suit instead of the green prison clothes he had worn in court on Tuesday and Thursday.
The court first discussed whether a new piece of evidence submitted by the defense should be accepted.
It concerned a previous assault conviction against the plaintiff, which the defense argued spoke to the plaintiff’s reliability and previous behavior, but the prosecution said was irrelevant since the plaintiff and the accused had not met before the night in question.
The two women then testified via video-link, before 20-year-old Dawod Hosseini, who was with Jafari when the attack happened, took the stand.
According to Expressen, Hosseini said Jafari approached and told him that he had been in a fight with a security guard, and that the pair went back to confront him.
Hosseini said that, after a brief altercation, he ran away because he thought the group were holding bottles and expected Jafari to follow him.
However, when he looked back Jafari was being thrown on the ground.
Hosseini admitted to being unable to remember parts of the altercation because he was on tranquilizers at the time.
Timothy Williams, Mayers’s security guard, was also questioned – telling the court that it was clear from the beginning that there was ‘something wrong’ with Jafari.
He said he could tell what language he was speaking and his eye were ‘really glossy’.
‘I knew something’s not right about him. I’m noticing it because I’m a bodyguard,’ Williams said in English. ‘And now, I’m looking at him like, “Yo, what’s wrong with you?” I’m looking at him and saw that his eyes were really glossy, like he’s on something.’
Williams then went on to explain the details of the brawl, explaining how he grabbed Jafari by the shoulders and took him away from Mayers and the rest of his crew.
At one point, Williams said that Jafari began throwing punches at him and that’s when Mayers decided to intervene.
Asked why a person would chose to defend their security guard, Williams responds that ‘he is a man with a good heart’.
Presiding judge Per Lennerbrant said proceedings are scheduled to conclude with closing arguments in the afternoon, although could be extended into next week.
When giving his own account of the events leading up to the brawl on Thursday, the rapper stressed that he felt ‘scared’ and that he and his entourage had repeatedly told the plaintiff to leave them alone.
Martin Persson, defense attorney, arrives at the courthouse after the lunch break on the third day of the A$AP Rocky assault trial, Friday. Fans gathered outside chanting ‘Free Flacko’
Slobodan Jovicic, attorney for A$AP Rocky, arrives on the final day of his trial
Mayers conceded he threw the plaintiff to the ground and ‘kicked his arm’, but denied the prosecution’s claim that a bottle was used and insisted he only acted after the accuser and his friend began attacking his bodyguard.
The plaintiff has alleged that he was attacked by Mayers and his entourage when he followed them to ask about a pair of headphones that were broken in an earlier scuffle with the rapper’s bodyguard.
Much of the trial has centered around analyzing videos and whether bottles had been used as weapons during the alleged assault. Much of the action occurred was not recorded.
In one video published by US celebrity news outlet TMZ, the rapper can be seen throwing a young man to the ground and apparently aiming several punches at him while he is down.
The court has also been shown videos posted on the artist’s Instagram account, purporting to show the lead up to the brawl in which Mayers appears to repeatedly ask the man and his friend to stop following him and his entourage. The prosecution has argued that the Instagram videos were heavily edited.
A witness for the prosecution said A$AP threw the plaintiff to the ground and he was seen bleeding by a wall afterwards. The witness could not recall any violence before that moment.
An online petition called #JusticeForRocky has garnered more than 640,000 signatures. Social media campaigns have urged fans to boycott Swedish brands such as IKEA.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the rapper to be freed, drawing complaints of interference from Swedish politicians.
The US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Robert C. O’Brien, has been sent to attend the trial.
Swedish media also reported Thursday that the US embassy had sent a request to the Swedish Prosecutor General, to allow the rapper and the two others to stay in a hotel rather than in the remand prison where they are currently being held.
‘We responded that’s not how it works in Sweden,’ Karin Rosander, communications director at the Swedish Prosecution Authority, told the newspaper Expressen.