As A$AP Rocky’s assault trial in Sweden continues, the rapper took the stand on Thursday to defend himself against allegations of assault and tell his side of the story.
Rocky, 30, has pleaded not guilty to an assault charge stemming from a June 30 street fight in Stockholm. Now, two days after the alleged victim, 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari, testified that he was beaten — hit nearly 20 times — after asking Rocky’s group if they’d seen his friend, Rocky took the stand to relay his version of events.
Everything was “going fine” until two men, one of whom was Jafari, approached his security guard, Rocky said, according to Variety.
“Next thing I know, my security guard was lifting one of them,” he said, before adding that then things “got a little scary.”
Rocky said that he and his group tried to get away from Jafari, who he said looked to be on drugs, but they were followed, CNN reports.
“At this point we are really scared. I saw my security guard being cut, bleeding. We didn’t know what to expect with these strangers — I'm not from Sweden, so it was really scary,” he said.
He reportedly added later that he “wanted to go straight to the hotel for safety,” according to the outlet.
“I didn’t want this to happen,” he said. “We had no clue where we were, we just knew we weren’t close to the hotel.”
The “Fashion Killa” rapper, born Rakim Mayers, has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal and posted cellphone footage of the alleged victims, accusing them of harassing him and his group, to his Instagram page, before his arrest on July 3. His lawyer claims that Rocky and the two co-defendants acted in self-defense.
Taking the stand on Thursday, Jafari testified that he went up to Rocky’s bodyguard and asked if he’d seen his friend, but the guard — referred to only as "Tee" in court documents — then told him to go away and pushed him before grabbing him by the neck and lifting him off of the ground. The bodyguard allegedly broke his headphones in the process, prompting him to follow the group in an attempt to talk about it; he was then hit in the back of the head with a bottle and beat by four men, he claimed.
In the midst of the trial, surveillance footage has been released of the rapper’s bodyguard choke-slamming the alleged victim after what looks to be a brief exchange. The clip, which lasts only a few seconds and which was published by TMZ, appears to show the hired security lifting Jafari by the throat.
Rocky said on Thursday that his bodyguard knows he has to protect him at all costs but that he is not a naturally violent person, according to USA Today correspondent Kim Hjelmgaard. The bodyguard has not been charged, outlets report.
The trial was previously expected to wrap on Friday, but a judge said that proceedings are behind schedule and another day may be needed, according to CNN.
If convicted, Rocky faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison, but Swedish outlets have reported that prosecutors do not plan to push for it, per CNN’s report.
The rapper’s case has drawn worldwide interest as well as celebrity involvement, with reality TV star (and future lawyer) Kim Kardashian proclaiming her support for Rocky and President Donald Trump reportedly reaching out to the Swedish Prime Minister in an effort to have Rocky freed. Trump’s attempt was not successful, but he sent Presidential Hostage Affairs Envoy Robert C. O'Brien to observe the trial.
“The president asked me to come here and support these American citizens,” O’Brien said Tuesday, according to The New York Times. “I’ll be here until they come home.”
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