Swedish court temporarily frees A$AP Rocky from jail

Swedish court temporarily frees A$AP Rocky from jail

Rapper A$ AP Rocky and two other U.S. suspects will be freed from jail until Aug. 14, when judges are expected to announce a verdict in the assault case against them, a Swedish court announced Friday.

According to the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, the rapper plans to leave Sweden on Friday evening on a private plane from Stockholm Airport.

Prosecutors asked that the 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, get a six-month sentence during closing arguments Friday. Mayers told the court he thought community service would be a proper punishment for him.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted out his elation at the development in the case.

Witness recants part of testimony

A witness in the A$ AP Rocky assault case revised her story from initial police reports, testifying in a Swedish court earlier Friday that she didn’t actually see the American rapper hitting a man with a bottle.

The young woman and her friend, testifying anonymously, were questioned via video link at Stockholm District Court.

Witness testimonies were the highlight of the third day of the trial where Mayers and two other suspects are accused by prosecutors of beating 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari on June 30. The rapper’s bodyguard, identified as Timothy Leon Williams, also testified Friday.

A$ AP Rocky, right, leaves the district court after the third day of his trial in Stockholm on Friday. (Fredrik Persson/TT News Agency via AP)

Whether or not Jafari, who got into an argument with Mayers’ entourage in Stockholm, was hit with parts or a whole bottle has become one of the key issues at the trial.

Both women who testified Friday maintained their previous statements to police that they saw Mayers and his partners beating and kicking Jafari.

But one of the women recanted what she witnessed with the bottle. 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.

She said she didn’t see Mayers holding a bottle during the scuffle. Her friend testified that she didn’t see anyone hitting Jafari with a bottle.

“Everything happened very quickly. We were scared for our lives,” the first 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.”

Rapper and bodyguard testimonies

Williams’s testimony closely mirrored what Mayers told the court Thursday, adding that the situation was made more complicated due to the language barriers between the rapper’s group and Jafari. His bodyguard said Friday he asked Jafari to “go away” when he approached the group a second time outside the fast-food restaurant in central Stockholm.

“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.

Mayers had also testified earlier this week that he suspected Jafari and his friend were under the influence of some drug, which officials have not yet commented on.

A courtroom sketch from the trial against A$ AP Rocky at the district court in Stockholm. A street fight that landed the U.S. rapper in jail became a topic of U.S.-Swedish diplomacy. (Court Illustration by Anna-Lena Lindqvist/TT/The Associated Press)

Domestic and international response

The rapper pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial Tuesday, saying he acted in self-defence when Jafari and another man would not leave them alone. He has been behind bars since he was arrested on July 3.

The trial has created a stir in U.S.-Swedish diplomatic relations after Trump weighed in to support the Grammy-nominated recording artist. Trump has spoken with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, offering to personally guarantee A$ AP Rocky’s bail, but the Swedish leader said he couldn’t interfere in a legal case.

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.

CBC | Arts News

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