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ASAP Rocky on trial for ”assaulting 19-year-old with a bottle” in Sweden

US rapper ASAP Rocky will appear in a Swedish court today.Foto: TAYLOR JEWELL / AP TT NYHETSBYRÅN

US rapper ASAP Rocky could be seen laughing in court today as he pleaded not guilty to assault in Stockholm, Sweden.

The alleged victim is a 19-year-old Afghan man who claims ASAP Rocky and two of his associates attacked him outside a fastfood restaurant in Stockholm a month ago.

The teenager is demanding 139 700 SEK – around $14 630 – in damages.

The much publicised case has seen a number of celebrities demanding the rapper's freedom, including Kim Kardashian, and sparked a diplomatic row between Donald Trump and the Swedish prime minister.

ASAP Rocky, handcuffed and dressed in the detention centres green tshirt and tracksuit bottoms, has pleaded not guilty to assault at Stockholm District Court today.

As he entered the courtroom, his mother Renee Black, who has travelled to Sweden to support her son, appeared visibly upset, but so far the US rapper himself has shown little feelings.

When video clips and still of the alleged assault were shown in court, ASAP Rocky's attorney Slobodan Jovicic could be seen whispering something in his ear, before they both laughed.

ASAP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and his two associates are accused of assaulting a 19-year-old Afghan man in central Stockholm on June 30.

The prosecutor claims the trio have ”intentionally, together and in agreement assaulted the plaintiff by adminstering punches and kicks. In addition, Rakim Mayers has, with force, thrown the plaintiff on the ground.  During the assault, hits have been administered with a weapon in the shape of a whole and/or parts of a glass bottle.” 

The 30-year-old Harlem rapper's trial is expected to last until Friday afternoon.

The rapper

ASAP Rocky had arrived in Stockholm a few days before his performance at the Smash festival in the Swedish capital.

On June 30, he, along with his associates and his body guard, encountered the 19-year-old who is now the alleged assault victim, on the streets of the city.

A number of videos, filmed by ASAP Rocky himself and posted on his Instagram, show the 19-year-old and his friend following the group and ignoring requests to leave them alone.

ASAP Rocky's lawyer Slobodan Jovicic interviewed by CNN

After the rapper repeatedly told the two young Afghan men that he ”did not want trouble”, a fight broke out, ending with the 19-year-old on the ground outside a fast food restaurant.

On July 5, shortly after finishing his set at Smash festival, ASAP Rocky was detained by police and charged with assault. 

He has remained in police custody since, maintaining via his lawyer that any violence against the 19-year-old was self defence.

If he walks free, ASAP Rocky could command the biggest damages payout in relation to time in custody in the history of the Swedish justice system.

As damages are paid out to compensate for loss of income – and ASAP Rocky has been forced to cancel a substantial part of his European tour that was due to make him several hundred thousand dollars – he could set a record.

The victim

The alleged victim is a 19-year-old Afghan man who came to Sweden as an unaccompanied minor from Iran in 2015.

He has a lengthy criminal record, and has previously been found guilty of both petty theft and assault, as well as being caught carrying class A drugs.

Police photographs taken after the alleged assault on June 30 shows him bruised with cuts to his arms and legs and a split lip.

Injuries caused to the 19-year-old alleged assault-victim.Foto: POLISEN
A limb injury, as documented by Swedish authorities.Foto: POLISEN
The victim's injuries.Foto: POLISEN
The 19-year-old also sustained cuts to his head.Foto: POLISEN

According to the defence, the alleged assault of the 19-year-old by ASAP Rocky and his associates was self-defence.

In one of the videos of the incident posted on ASAP Rocky's Instagram, the 19-year-old can be seen hitting the rapper's bodyguard with a pair of black headphones.

The bodyguard, who can be heard telling the 19-year-old and his friend to leave the American group alone, would later file a countersuit against the 19-year-old, however this was dropped last week.

The 19-year-old, who is appearing in court today, is asking for 139 700 SEK – around $14 630 – in damages.

The friend

The 19-year-old's friend, who can be seen alongside him in the numerous videos of the incident, is one of the witnesses.

He was initiallly also a victim, but the case was dropped due to lack of evidence.

However, the friend, a 20-year-old man also from Afghanistan, will not be making his way into court on Tuesday a free man.

The crime scene in central Stockholm, with the broken bottle allegedly used during the assault seen marked in yellow.Foto: POLISEN/HANDOUT/TT / TT NYHETSBYRÅN POLISEN

The 20-year-old will be escorted by police as he too is currently in police custody.

He stands accused of petty theft and knife crime, in relation to the alleged theft of two jackets in central Stockholm on July 19. 

In addition – less than two weeks after the alleged ASAP Rocky incident – the 20-year-old was caught stealing a pair of sunglasses and was sentenced to 21 days in prison.

The Donald

The ASAP Rocky case went from headlinegrabbing celebrity news to an international diplomatic incident thanks to Kim Kardashian.

The curvaceous reality-TV star and business mogul reached out to Donald Trump via his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the US President soon took to Twitter to call for ASAP Rocky's freedom.

Donald Trump would go on to tweet that he had spoken to the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and had vouched for ASAP Rockys bail. An empty promise as Sweden doesn't have a bail system.

The US President would later, in further tweets, express his ”disappointment” over the fact that Stefan Löfven had been ”unable to act”.

However, the president's disappointment would have been misdirected, as such involvement as he desired from the prime minister is illegal in Sweden, enshrined in its constitution. 

Unsurprisingly, the Swedish prime minister has been having none of it.

– I was very clear that the Swedish justice system is non-negotiable, Stefan Löfven told local newspaper Allehanda

– It is an independent justice system, and it doesn't matter who calls or tweets.

– I have no reason to engage in a dialogue with Trump about this.

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