A$AP Rocky Pleads Not Guilty to Assault as High Profile Trial Begins in Sweden
A$AP Rocky has pleaded not guilty to assault as his high profile trial begins in Sweden.
On Thursday, Stockholm public prosecutor Daniel Suneson announced that Rocky will be tried for “assault causing actual bodily harm.”
Two other members of Rocky’s entourage, who are also facing assault charges, pleaded not guilty.
During the first day of the trial, Suneson showed the courtroom footage of the incident, which occured on June 30, from security cameras and witnesses’ iPhones, NBC News reported.
He alleged that Rocky threw Jafari on the ground before he and the two members of his crew beat him while he was down, NBC News and CBS News reported. Jafari also took the stand, stating, “I was shocked that he took me by the neck and lifted me up.”
“I tried to hit him, but my [punches] did not land,” Jafari said according to NBC News. He went on to allege that he was also hit over the back with a bottle, however, the defense says there is no evidence to prove that happened.
Jafari is seeking 139,00 Swedish crowns — which is around $14,500 — in damages.
Rocky’s defense team will present their evidence as well as his account of the altercation on Thursday. A verdict is expected to be reached by Friday, the outlet reported.
If convicted, Rocky and his entourage could face two years in jail.
Speaking to PEOPLE from his office in Stockholm on Thursday, Suneson said, “Assault causing actual bodily harm can give up to two years of imprisonment. In this case, it’s not going to be on that level, however.”
Rocky’s lawyer Slobodan Jovicic stressed to the court on Tuesday that his client did not commit any crimes and explained he was only acting in self defense, CNN reported.
“Please bear in mind that A$AP Rocky is an international, very well-known artist,” Jovicic told the court, according to CNN. He added that Rocky is used to being approached, but in this case, he acted out of fear.
Jovicic did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Rocky previously detailed the events leading up to the arrest to his 10.2 million Instagram followers.
The first video the artist shared to his social media platform showed what appeared to be the beginning of the street incident that later led to the arrests.
In the footage, A$AP Rocky and his entourage are approached by two young men on the street when an argument between the groups breaks out. One person from the rapper’s crew, whom the rapper later claimed was his bodyguard, can be heard telling the two men to “go that way — you following us” and another person can be heard saying, “Nobody wants to fight with you bro.”
Rocky explained the incident in the caption of the video.
“So a few drug addicts are not my fans,” he claimed. “We don’t know these guys and we didn’t want trouble, they followed us for 4 blocks, and they were slapping girls butts who passed, give me a break.”
Rocky has spent nearly a month in prison since his arrest on July 2. His case has gained national attention with President Donald Trump previously announcing his plans to call the prime minister of Sweden to help release Rocky from jail.
“Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rocky’s incarceration,” he tweeted on Friday. “I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved.”
A source previously told PEOPLE that Kanye, 42, and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, had used their connections to the White House to appeal to Trump amid Rocky’s arrest and legal investigation in Sweden.
The source said that Kim, 38, recently reached out to the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, on behalf of her and her husband.
“She really brought it to the forefront,” the source said. Kim had developed a relationship with Kushner due to her previous work with the White House on criminal justice reform.
Last week, Trump voiced his all-caps dismay at being unable to persuade Swedish authorities to drop the assault charges against Rocky.
Using the hashtag #FreeRocky, Trump tweeted on Thursday that he was “very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act.”
“Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly!” the president wrote, adding in another tweet: “Give A$AP Rocky his FREEDOM. We do so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around. Sweden should focus on its real crime problem!”
A Swedish government spokesman told Reuters they were not able to intervene in the case despite Trump’s efforts: “Sweden and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven have been very clear in the dialogue with both the White House and directly with the American president, that in Sweden everyone is equal before the law and that the government cannot interfere in legal proceedings,” the spokesman said in a text message.
“Rocky is now being detained for an unknown period of time until they have a trial and he is having his legal and basic human rights ignored while being forced to live in inhumane conditions — all for acting in self-defense,” the source claimed at the time.