A$AP Rocky pleads for freedom at trial in Sweden: 'What I want is justice'

The rapper's case has sparked outrage in hip-hop and Hollywood.

A$AP Rocky testified at his trial in Sweden on Thursday after entering a not guilty plea in relation to an assault charge for his involvement in a fight that broke out in the streets of Stockholm.

The American rapper, who has been imprisoned since July 2, wrapped up his testimony by telling those in the room that he is not seeking financial compensation from the court for all of his cancelled tour dates since his detention, but all he wants is "justice."

"I can make that money back. What I want is justice and I want is my name to be cleared and justice for all of us. That's what I want and Thank you," he said.

The hip-hop star and two of his companions — performers Bladimir Corniel and David Rispers, who were also charged — are accused of beating 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari on June 30. Cameras are not allowed in the courtroom, but ABC News was present at the trial.

A$AP Rocky testified that he and his friends were followed and harassed by Jafari and another man ahead of the brawl and that Jafari instigated a fight with the rapper's bodyguard, Tim. He said that they "pleaded" and "begged" the two men for a peaceful outcome before they were driven to act in self-defense.

The bodyguard, whose surname has not been disclosed by prosecutors, was not detained but filed a "counter-investigation" or complaint against Jafari last month. In response to the complaint, the Swedish prosecutor's office announced on July 22 that Jafari will not be charged in the case.

Jafari testified that he was hit by a bottle while he was lying on the street and added that "at least two of them hit me with beer bottles."

A$AP Rocky refuted the claim and the prosecutor said in court Tuesday that the medical report does not support injuries by a bottle.

The rapper's case has sparked outrage in the hip-hop community and in Hollywood, prompting several rappers, including Tyler the Creator, SchoolBoy Q and Rae Sremmurd's Slim Jxmmi to vow that they will not perform in Sweden.

California hip-hop artist Tyga has already cancelled a show in Sweden earlier this month in a show of support for the imprisoned rapper.

President Donald Trump, who also vowed to help, repeatedly called for the rapper's freedom and lashed out at Sweden and the country's prime minister on Twitter last Thursday following news that the rapper will be charged.

Special presidential envoy for hostage affairs Robert O'Brien was deployed to Sweden by the White House to be present in the courthouse for A$AP Rocky's trial, a State Department official confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday. Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch was in Stockholm a week earlier from July 18 to 20, meeting with Swedish officials to discuss the case.

O'Brien was in court Tuesday and while he said he wasn't commenting on the case he told ABC News, "We want to bring this American citizen, A$AP, back as soon as possible."

"One of the most important tasks of the Department of State and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad is to provide assistance to U.S. citizens who are detained abroad," a State Department official told ABC News on Tuesday, but declined to comment on whether the Trump administration is considering the rapper to be a hostage.

Swedish ambassador to the U.S. Karin Olofsdotter addressed the case last week following Trump's tweets, writing that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has emphasized "the complete independence of the Swedish judicial system, prosecutors and courts" and the government "is not allowed, and will not attempt, to influence legal proceedings."

The trial of A$AP Rocky, whose given name is Rakim Mayers, is expected to end on Friday. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

ABC News' Conor Finnegan contributed to this report

Related Topics