On Tuesday, Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky pleaded not guilty in his assault case in Sweden, reports CBS News.
The high-profile case also includes two people from A$AP Rocky’s entourage who were also facing charges.
A$AP Rocky, whose given name is Rakim Mayers, began trial on Tuesday in Stockholm District Court.
Thursday and Friday are also set aside by the court for the case, but it’s uncertain whether or not the full three days will be needed.
With Rocky’s mother in attendance at the courthouse, the rapper’s lawyer submitted his plea of not guilty, stating that Rocky acted in self-defense.
According to Swedish prosecutors, the Grammy-nominated rapper and model and the other two suspects allegedly attacked the victim, Mustafa Jafari, “deliberately, together and in agreement,” on June 30 in central Stockholm.
The charges against the “F**kin’ Problems” rapper carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison. Rocky has consistently asserted that he acted in self-defense, and the rapper has been in custody since July 3.
The rapper’s trial was held in a secure courtroom “because of the large interest from the media and the public,” the Stockholm court said. Photography and filming were not allowed inside the courtroom.
According to more than 500 pages of court documents, prosecutors alleged that Rocky and the two others kicked Jafari while he was on the ground and hit him with a whole bottle.
Prior to his arrest, A$AP Rocky shared videos to his Instagram account, that showed the rapper and other members of his entourage repeatedly telling two men, including Jafari, to stop following him and his friends.
Apparently, there’s another video that shows Rocky throwing one of the men to the ground and then punching and kicking him several times, alongside his friends.
Jafari’s cuts, bruises, and blood-stained clothes were photographed numerous times to be used as part of their evidence.
On Monday (July 29), Martin Persson, Rocky’s lawyer told Swedish public broadcaster SVT that he would provide the court with new evidence, that reveals “no bottle has been used to hit or injure anyone” and the violence that transpired was “within the limits of the law.”
Last Friday, Magnus Stromberg, Jafari’s attorney, told The Associated Press that the fight started when one of Rocky’s bodyguards “grabbed him [Jafari] by the neck and dragged him away” and that the assault wasn’t provoked by Jafari.
President Donald Trump attempted to intervene on behalf of the jailed rapper, which kicked off an awkward diplomatic spat when the 30-year-old rapper was charged by Swedish prosecutors, last week.
The high-profile case has garnered the attention of various American celebrities, including Diddy, Justin Bieber, and Kim Kardashian West, as well as sparked a social media movement titled #JusticeForRocky.
Dennis Martinsson, a Stockholm University law lecturer told CBS News that if the rapper is convicted, Rocky will most likely be released on probation or possibly spend three to five months behind bars, rather than spend two years in prison, which was the maximum sentence.
Given the unusual Twitter intervention in the case by President Trump and other celebrities, including tweets from Mr. Trump suggesting that Rocky’s race might have played a role in the arrest, Saberi asked Martinsson whether he believed the rapper was getting a fair trial.
“Yes, I’d say so,” the law expert said. “I’d even go so far to say that his case has been fast-tracked in a way,” he added, suggesting Sweden’s justice system took “the international, sort of, pressure” into account.
Trump previously tweeted that Sweden should release the rapper on bail before the trial began, but Martinsson clarified that it couldn’t legally happen because Sweden doesn’t have a bail system. Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt recently wrote in the Washington Post that the prime minister of Sweden simply isn’t in a position to intervene: “As prime minister, you can have your government propose laws and try to get parliament to decide on them, but once that’s done, your role in how they are implemented is absolutely zero… A Swedish prime minister who tries to order a court to release a suspect or dismiss a case is first going to fail and then, with high probability, will be kicked out of office.”
He concluded his op-ed: “The three U.S. suspects will get a fair trial. No one doubts that. The outcome will be decided by the court — without any interference by any higher political authority within or outside of the country. That’s the way it should be in a free society.”