The Swedish government on Friday rebuffed President Donald Trump’s angry attempt to get Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to intervene in the case of U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky who goes on trial for assault next week.
Rocky, a platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated artist whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was jailed three weeks ago while police investigate an altercation with two men in Stockholm. Two companions have also been charged with assault.
According to court documents obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, prosecutors alleged that Rocky and two companions “deliberately, together and in agreement” pushed the man to the ground, kicked him and hit him with a bottle.
The 500 pages of documents included photos of the alleged victim’s cuts, bruises and blood-stained clothes.
Magnus Stromberg, lawyer for the alleged victim, charged that the altercation started when one of A$AP Rocky’s guards “grabbed him by the neck and dragged him away.” He said his client, Mustafa Jafari, did not provoke the assault, and “this situation has been very stressful for him,” Stromberg said.
“There was no reason, none whatsoever, for the use of such violence,” he said.
Rocky, who faces up to two years in jail if convicted of assault, has maintained his innocence and argued he and two companions were provoked.
Videos published on social media appeared to show a person being violently thrown onto the ground by Rocky.
Trump, who spoke with Lofven last week about the case, doubled down angrily on Thursday following the report that Rocky has been officially charged and will face trial next week.
“Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act,” he tweeted. “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! #FreeRocky.
“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! #FreeRocky,” he added.
A spokesman for the government, in a statement to Reuters, rejected Trump’s latest entreaties.
“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 statement said.
Former prime minister Carl Bildt told the daily newspaper Aftonbladet on that Lofven was correct in declining to comment on the case.
“I think it’s right of the government not to go into a mud wrestling match with Trump. That is his element, and should not be Sweden’s,” Bildt said in the paper’s Friday edition.
Trump has even offered to pay Rocky’s bail, although Sweden does not have a bail system.
The case has drawn attention of celebrities including Sean “Diddy” Combs, Nicki Minaj, Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West. Trump spoke with Sweden’s prime minister Saturday about the detained rapper.
Contributing: Associated Press
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