Swedish judge convicts A$AP Rocky of assault, will avoid prison time
US rapper A$AP Rocky attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017. EFE/EPA/FILE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO
Copies of the press release on the court's verdict on ASAP Rocky (not pictured) is handed out in Stockholm, Sweden, 14 August 2019. EFE/EPA/Anders Wiklund
A$AP Rocky's lawyer Slobodan Jovicic comments on the ASAP Rocky verdict during a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, 14 August 2019. EFE/EPA/Fredrik Sandberg
Copenhagen, Aug 14 (efe-epa).- A judge in Sweden on Wednesday found American rapper A$AP Rocky and two members of his entourage guilty of assault and handed them suspended sentences, meaning they will not serve prison time.
In a case that has garnered much media attention, the judge at Stockholm's District Court said the 30-year-old Harlem artist A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and members of his entourage were not in a position to claim self-defense as a reason for a scuffle that took place in Stockholm on June 30.
"The court finds that it has been proven that the defendants assaulted the victim by hitting and kicking him as he lay on the ground. The artist has also thrown the victim to the ground and stepped on his arm," the ruling said.
"The victim has alleged that he was struck with a glass bottle in the back of his head at the beginning of the assault. The evidence points in different directions in this regard."
The victim, Mustafa Jafari, was awarded financial compensation although less than the sum he had requested. He suffered cuts and bruises in the scuffle, which required medical attention.
Prosecutors were unable to prove allegations that A$AP Rocky had attacked him with a broken bottle.
A$AP Rocky and the two guilty members of his entourage involved in the fight — two others were dismissed — will have to cover the cost incurred by the state for their time in pre-trial detention, around $1,300 each.
"The overall evidentiary situation in the case has been complex. The prosecutor has not been able to prove that the victim was struck in the back of the head with a bottle or that he was in any other way assaulted with bottles," the presiding judge, Senior Judge Per Lennerbrant, said.
"This has affected the assessment of the seriousness of the crime."
The trial has been closely watched internationally and even prompted US President Donald Trump to get involved, as he called for the rapper to be released from jail and criticized Sweden when it defended the independence of its judiciary from politics.
A$AP Rocky and the two other defendants were held in detention for a month.
There was also an outpouring of support from other celebrities, like Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian.
The events in Stockholm that night took place as A$AP Rocky was in the city to perform at a festival.
A video showing the lead-up to the spat shows A$AP Rocky and his entourage apparently trying to diffuse the situation and asking two young men to stop following them was picked up by the media.
Separate footage allegedly shows the moment A$AP Rocky pulled the accuser to the ground before hitting him in the head and body. EFE-EPA