U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky spared jail after being found guilty of Stockholm brawl


STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky was convicted of assault by a Stockholm court on Wednesday but was spared time in prison after a high-profile trial that led President Donald Trump to question the fairness of Sweden’s legal system.

FILE PHOTO: A$AP Rocky performs “I’m Not the Only One” with Sam Smith (not pictured) during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

The court also convicted two members of A$AP Rocky’s entourage of the same crime in connection with a street brawl in the Swedish capital. None of the three, who had all pleaded not guilty, were in court for the hearing.

“In an overall assessment the court finds that the assault has not been of such a serious nature that a prison sentence must be chosen,” the court said in a statement.

The court said the assault would have carried a two-month sentence but the fact that the defendants had no prior convictions over the past five years and had already spent time in custody awaiting their trial meant they would not serve further time in prison or pay any fine.

A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was detained on July 3 in connection with the brawl on June 30 and charged with assault causing actual bodily harm.

During the trial, the rapper said he acted in self-defense. Mayers was released by the court on Aug. 2 and returned to the United States pending the verdict.

The court ruled that the artist and the convicted members of his entourage must pay damages to the plaintiff of 12,500 Swedish crowns ($1,302) along with some of the costs for his legal representation.

The sentence was suspended for two years, so if they comment another crime, this conviction could be taken into consideration.

The case has drawn global attention, particularly since Trump said Mayers was being treated unfairly and asked Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to help free him.

Lofven declined, saying Sweden’s judiciary was independent.

Various celebrities had also called for his release and some fellow rappers proposed a boycott of Sweden. Sweden does not have a bail system that allows suspects to be freed before or during a trial.

The prosecution said that after an argument, Mayers threw 19-year-old man Mustafa Jafari to the ground, after which he and the two others kicked and punched the teenager.

In his testimony, Jafari said he was also hit on the head with a bottle after he followed Mayers’ group.

Mayers acknowledged in court that he threw Jafari to the ground and punched and kicked him, but said the teenager had attacked his bodyguard. He said he had tried to avoid the fight and denied hitting Jafari with a bottle.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander, Simon Johnson and Niklas Pollard; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Alison Williams

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