A$AP Rocky pleaded not guilty as his assault trial got underway in Sweden Tuesday, saying that he acted in self-defence.
The American rapper, real name Rakim Mayers, is facing two years in jail over claims he and his entourage attacked 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari on June 30 – hitting him with a bottle while also punching and kicking him.
The trial began as Sweden’s Expressen newspaper revealed that Jafari has a lengthy criminal history including prior convictions for heroin, assault and petty theft.
A$AP Rocky, real name Rakim Mayers, appeared in in Stockholm District Court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to attacking 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari in the city last month (court sketch showing Mayers in green front right, and his mother sitting behind him, centre)
Mayers is facing two years in jail accused of assaulting 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari in Sweden’s capital city on June 30
Mayers and two of his friends are facing two years in jail each. Prosecutors claim they beat Jafari with their fists, feet and part of a bottle
Mayers claims his entourage acted in self-defence after being hassled by Jafari and his friend, and that no bottle was used in the assault
Meanwhile his 20-year-old friend, who will appear as a witness in the case after police found there was not enough evidence for him to press charges, has also been in frequent trouble with the law.
The friend will be escorted into court by police because he is currently in jail accused of theft and knife crime.
The charges relate to the alleged theft of two jackets in central Stockholm on July 19.
His most recent arrest came just days after he was freed from jail for another theft – taking some sunglasses – for which he was sentenced to 21 days in jail.
Both men are originally from Afghanistan. Jafari came to Sweden as an undocumented migrant from Iran in 2015. It is not clear when his friend arrived.
Renee Black, Mayer’s mother, arrives at court before her son takes the stand on Tuesday
Slobodan Jovicic, part of Meyers’ legal team (rear), arrives at court where they say new evidence will be presented that shows all violence used was within the limits of the law
Carl Risch (centre), the US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, arrives at the court after the case caught international attention including from President Donald Trump
Swedish prosecutors allege that the Grammy-nominated rapper and the two other suspects ‘deliberately, together and in agreement’ attacked Jafari in central Stockholm on June 30.
The trial will be held in a secure courtroom ‘because of the large interest from the media and the public,’ the Stockholm court said, noting that no photographing or filming will take place during the proceedings.
Prosecutors alleged in more than 500 pages of court documents that the three suspects beat and kicked Jafari while he was on the ground and that he was hit by parts of or a whole bottle.
Prosecutors also said that Mayers pushed Jafari to the ground and the court documents include numerous photos of Jafari’s cuts, bruises and blood-stained clothes.
A video of last month’s street brawl appeared to show the US rapper and his security team hurling a man to the ground and punching and kicking him (video footage pictured)
Swedish police have released pictures of injuries which Jafari says he sustained in the fight
This undated photo made available by the Swedish Police via the Swedish Court, shows an injury sustained by Mustafa Jafari, the alleged victim involved in a fight with rapper A$AP Rocky on June 30, 2019. A Swedish prosecutor on Thursday July 25, 2019 charged rapper A$AP Rocky with assault over the fight in Stockholm, in a case that has drawn the attention of fellow recording artists as well as U.S. President Donald Trump. (Swedish Police via Swedish Court via AP)
Jafari showed police the extent of his injuries from the alleged assault, in which he sustained cuts to his arms legs and face
The rapper’s lawyer, Martin Persson, told Swedish public broadcaster SVT on Monday that he would present the court with new evidence, including showing that ‘no bottle has been used to hit or injure anyone’ and that the violence used was ‘within the limits of the law.’
A lawyer for Jafari, Magnus Stromberg, told The Associated Press on Friday the beating started when one of A$AP Rocky’s guards ‘grabbed him (Jafari) by the neck and dragged him away’ and that Jafari didn’t provoke the assault.
Mayer’s arrest prompted Trump to intervene on behalf of the jailed rapper and sparked an unusual diplomatic spat when Swedish prosecutors charged the 30-year-old artist last week.
The case has also drawn the attention of American celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Mayer’s fellow recording artists, including Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Justin Bieber, and created the movement #JusticeForRocky soon after the rapper’s arrest.
A$AP Rocky was on Thursday charged with assault in Sweden, despite President Trump’s personal plea to the Swedish Prime Minster requesting the rapper be released. Pictured: Video grabs of the fight, posted by the Grammy-nominated star
Trump claimed on Twitter that the US does ‘so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around’