A$AP Rocky has voiced his disappointment at being found guilty of assault by a Swedish Court Wednesday, but the Grammy-winning artist issued thanks to those who helped him through the ‘difficult time’.
The 30-year-old rapper was handed a conditional sentence and ordered to a pay a total of 12,500 kronor ($1,307) in compensation after the court found the assault was not ‘of such a serious nature’ to warrant additional time behind bars.
A$AP, real name Rakim Mayers, had already been held in a Stockholm jail for a month after he and his bodyguards were accused of beating a 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari in the capital on June 30.
Mayers had pleaded self-defense and claimed he tried to avoid a confrontation with two men who he said were persistently following his entourage, but the Swedish judge disagreed.
‘I am of course disappointed by today’s verdict,’ Mayers wrote in an Instagram post. ‘I want to say thanks again to all of my fans, friends, and everyone who showed me love during this difficult time.
A$AP Rocky is not legally obliged to attend Stockholm District Court today but he was found guilty of assault, a judge confirmed
His release was celebrated by President Donald Trump who tweeted: ‘A$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!’
‘Imma keep moving forward. Thank you to me team, my management, attorneys, label and everyone who advocated for justice.’
The rapper made no mention of the fact he escaped additional jail time, despite prosecutors previously pushing for a six-month to two-year sentence.
‘The defendants have claimed that they acted in self-defense. Based on statements from two witnesses, the court finds that the defendants were not subject to a current or imminent criminal attack,’ presiding judge Per Lennerbrant said.
‘Therefore, they were not in a situation where they were entitled to use violence in self-defense. Nor could they have perceived themselves to be in such a situation.’
The New Yorker flew back to the States earlier this month and was not legally obliged to attend the verdict at Stockholm District Court.
News of his initial incarceration after the incident angered fans and even strained relations between the United States and Sweden.
The rapper’s lawyer Slobodan Jovicic expressed that his client was ‘disappointed by the verdict’ but said it was too early to appeal it. When question whether Mayers would return to Sweden to perform for fans, Jovicic said: ‘I know he’ll be back. 100 percent’
‘The defendants have claimed that they acted in self-defense. Based on statements from two witnesses, the court finds that the defendants were not subject to a current or imminent criminal attack,’ presiding judge Per Lennerbrant said. ‘Therefore, they were not in a situation where they were entitled to use violence in self-defense. Nor could they have perceived themselves to be in such a situation.’
Mayers had pleaded self-defense and claimed he tried to avoid a confrontation with two men who he said were persistently following his entourage. However, in its ruling, the Stockholm District Court said the performer’s claims of self-defense had been rejected
The case also drew the attention of American celebrities such as Kim Kardashian-West, and of Mayers’ fellow recording artists, including Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Justin Bieber. A social media campaign, #JusticeForRocky, was started to press for his release.
President Trump intervened on behalf of the rapper while he was jailed, and called Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, offering to personally guarantee his bail.
Trump even went as far as to warn the country of ‘negative consequences’ if they didn’t acquiesce to his demands to release Mayers.
In response, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven insisted ‘the Government is not allowed, and will not attempt, to influence the legal proceedings,’ and said the rapper was not privy to special treatment just because he’s famous.
A$AP Rocky was spotted smiling at Los Angeles International Airport, California on August 3
A private jet lands at Arlanda airport, Sweden to pick up US rapper A$AP Rocky, after he was released from custody, pending the verdict of his June street brawl assault trial
But after increasing diplomatic pressure, Mayers and his two bodyguards were released on August 2 pending the verdict and all three returned to the United States.
Mayers was spotted cheerfully greeting friends at Los Angeles International Airport after flying back on a private jet on August 3. He called the arrest ‘humbling’ and ‘scary’.
While locked up with co-defendants David Rispers Jr and Bladimir Corniel claimed they were forced to sleep ‘on a yoga mat with no duvet for blankets’.
US President was happy with the verdict and joked for A$AP to ‘get home ASAP’
In response to the Swedish PM being unable to help Trump sent in an international hostage negotiator
Trump tweeted his frustration over the Swedish Prime Minister not being able to advance their case
A verdict will be delivered in the trial on August 14. Mayers said Friday: ‘This has been a very difficult and humbling experience’ as he thanked fans and the court
Mayers told the court earlier this month that Mustafa Jafari, 19, and his friend refused to leave the entourage alone despite several appeals, and claimed they appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
Testifying in court, Jafari said his memory of the events was confused because of the blows to his head during the brawl.
He had told police earlier that he got angry as his headphones were broken during the initial argument with a bodyguard.
A full-scale brawl ensued shortly afterward and prosecutors allege that Mayers, Rispers, Jr. and Corniel, punched and kicked Jafari while he was on the ground.
They said Jafari was hit with parts of or a whole bottle.
A video of the brawl shows A$AP Rocky throwing a man to the floor and punching him, but footage released by the rapper himself shows two men following him and throwing the first blow at his security
During the day, two women who initially told police they had seen Mayers use a bottle in the brawl admitted that they hadn’t seen it – and had only heard the glass break
Jafari claimed the rapper pushed him to the ground. The prosecution played video footage in court showing Mayers throwing a young man to the ground, and photos showed the alleged victim’s cuts, bruises and blood-stained clothes.
But prosecutors were unable to substantiate Jafari’s claims that he’d been struck in the head with a bottle, which was the central focus point of the trial.
‘The overall evidentiary situation in the case has been complex. The prosecutor has not been able to prove that the victim was struck in the back of the head with a bottle or that he was in any other way assaulted with bottles,’ said judge Per Lennerbrant.
‘This has affected the assessment of the seriousness of the crime.’
The rapper’s lawyer Slobodan Jovicic expressed that his client was ‘disappointed by the verdict’ but said it was too early to appeal it.
Timeline of A$AP Rocky’s Sweden arrest
June 30: A$AP Rocky and his entourage gets into street fight with two young men caught on video
July 2: Rocky shares video of the altercation on his Instagram saying the two men followed his group and refused to leave them alone
July 3: Rocky is arrested sparking international outrage. TMZ reported he went in voluntarily for questioning and was taken into custody afterwards
July 8: Rocky’s appeal to the Swedish High Court is rejected after he was deemed a flight risk
July 10: His European tour dates are cancelled
July 19: Kanye West speaks to Donald Trump about Rocky
July 25: Rocky charged with assault, ordered to remain in country custody, and Trump tweets #FreeRocky
August 2: A$AP Rocky is released from custody awaiting a court verdict due August 14
August 14: A$AP Rocky is found guilty in his absence but is not given any more jail time. He was handed a conditional sentence and ordered to a pay a total of 12,500 kronor ($1,307)
When question whether Mayers would return to Sweden to perform for fans, Jovicic said: ‘I know he’ll be back. 100 percent.’
On Sunday, as A$AP Rocky returned to the stage for the first time since his release, during the 92.3 Real Street Festival at Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
While frustrated by his arrest, he did not seem to hold it against the country where he was held.
When the crowd began chanting ‘f**k Sweden!’ the New York rapper condemned the negative chants, saying ‘I don’t got nothing against Swedish people’ while opening up about his jail time, which he described as a ‘scary, humbling experience’.
He began: ‘Everybody listen. I know y’all were praying for me, I’m going to need y’all to continue praying for me, you know what I’m saying?
‘Hopefully with God’s will, I’m not guilty and s***. I get the verdict on Wednesday so I need y’all to keep praying for me. Hopefully we don’t need to go back to jail or nothing crazy like that.’
He then expressed his gratitude to the people in Sweden for standing by his side and admitted that he has no ill will toward them.
A$AP said: ‘I don’t got nothing against Swedish people because there was Swedish people rioting outside the police office, they were protesting outside of the jails, there were Swedish people in jails writing me holding it down.
Before that the Praise The Lord hitmaker talked about his experience in jail.
He said: ‘I’m so happy to be here right now. That was a scary, humbling experience but I’m here right now. God is good man, you know what I’m saying?
‘People who don’t even f*** with me felt sympathy and sympathetic for my situation. People was praying for me, that uplifted me when my spirits were low.
‘I can’t thank y’all enough, man, that was crazy. Hip-hop has never looked so strong together, we’re a big strong community man. Thank you.’
A$AP’s detainment led a number of high-profile celebrities, including Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, to share messages of support to free the rapper.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were an integral part in persuading President Donald Trump to push Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for the rapper’s release.
The US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Robert C. O’Brien, was sent to attend the trial at Stockholm District Court.
NBC reported that the US government warned Sweden of ‘negative consequence’ to the relationship between the two countries if the case wasn’t resolved as soon as possible.