ASAP Rocky found guilty of assault but spared jail in Swedish trial

The case has attracted widespread attention, with Kim Kardashian West, Rod Stewart and even President Donald Trump calling on Swedish authorities to release the rapper.
Image: ASAP Rocky in Paris on June 24, 2018.
ASAP Rocky in Paris on June 24, 2018.Edward Berthelot / Getty Images file

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By Phil Helsel and Linda Givetash

Rapper ASAP Rocky was found guilty of assault Wednesday by a Swedish court but will avoid further jail time.

The rapper was handed a suspended sentence after the court found that the assault was not "of such a serious nature" as to warrant more time behind bars.

Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested in Stockholm in July after he and two members of his entourage got into a street brawl with Mustafa Jafari, 19.

Prosecutors asked the court to convict Mayers, 30, and sentence him to at least six months in jail. But Per Lennerbrant, the senior judge presiding over the case, said the prosecution failed to prove the extent of the seriousness of the attack.

However, the rapper and his entourage were not without fault, the court found.

"The artist is convicted of his own use of violence," Lennerbrant said through a court translator.

The trio were ordered to pay 12,500 Swedish krona — roughly $1,300 — in damages to the victim. They are also required to repay the legal fees of the victim and the state.

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The rapper's lawyer said they were "disappointed" in the news.

"The court has recognized that Rocky and his party were followed and harassed, that no bottle was used, that Rocky didn’t act in a joined attack with the others and that Rocky didn't inflict any wounds on the victim and that is a win. But the court has also concluded that Rocky didn’t act in self-defense," the lawyer, Slobodan Jovic, said.

"It's a conclusion that Rocky and I don’t agree with."

A judge ordered the Harlem rapper released from custody earlier this month pending the verdict of the trial. He was allowed to leave the country and over the weekend, he told fans at an Anaheim, California, concert that the arrest was "scary" and "humbling."

"I am of course disappointed by today's verdict," he said in an Instagram post on Wednesday where he thanked people who "showed me love during this difficult time. Imma keep moving forward."

The case has attracted widespread attention, with reality television star Kim Kardashian West, singer Rod Stewart and even President Donald Trump calling on Swedish authorities to release the rapper, claiming he was treated unfairly.

As it advocated for the rapper's release, the U.S. government went so far as to warn Sweden of "negative consequences," according to a pair of letters released by the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

But the country's prime minister, Stefan Löfven, told Trump that the rapper would not receive special treatment and that politicians should not interfere with judicial matters.

The two-time Grammy nominee, who was in Stockholm headlining a festival, has said that he was unfairly treated because he is black.

Mayers and the two others accused in the assault pleaded not guilty and said they were acting in self-defense after being harassed by two men, including the alleged victim.

Mayers told the court earlier this month that he was sightseeing when his group was approached by the two men who wouldn't leave them alone. He said that his security guard pushed one of them away, at which point the men became more aggressive and Mayers got involved in the physical dispute.

The court disagreed with the self-defense claim, finding that "the defendants were not subject to a current or imminent criminal attack," a statement from the courts said.

However it found that the trial failed to prove the victim had been hit in the head with a bottle as Jafari alleged, the statement said.