Happier days: A$AP Rocky performing in Singapore in April 2019Photo: Christopher Jue (Getty Images for Marquee Singapore)
A$AP Rocky testified Thursday during his trial in a Swedish courtroom that he begged the man he and his entourage are accused of assaulting to leave them alone prior to the altercation that has the rapper facing an assault charge.
Rocky has pleaded not guilty in the case, which has resulted in his arrest and being jailed in Sweden for the last month awaiting trial. The case has gotten international attention, with celebrities and fans saying Rocky has been treated more harshly due to the fact that he is black.
Donald Trump even asked Sweden’s prime minister for leniency on Rocky’s behalf, tweeting, in part, that “Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States.”
According to NBC News, on Thursday, Rocky, given name Rakim Mayers, told a Swedish court that he and his entourage were sightseeing in Sweden’s capital city when they were approached by two men who wouldn’t leave them alone.
“I couldn’t help but assume that these guys were affected by some kind of drug,” he said.
Rocky said that as the men continued to follow him and his team, he “begged” them to stop, telling them that he didn’t want any trouble. He testified that he and his entourage were concerned for their safety and began picking up bottles they saw on the street as they continued on their way to prevent the men from possibly attacking them.
“We pleaded and we begged and we said, ‘Look man, we don’t want to fight y’all. We don’t want any more problems. We don’t want to go to jail. We don’t want to fight y’all. Please stop following us,’” Rocky said.
The men persisted, prompting one of Rocky’s security guards to push one of them away, Rocky said, according to NBC.
The men became more aggressive and attacked the guard, the embattled rapper said.
“At this point we are really scared. I saw my security guard being cut, bleeding,” he said, adding that it was at that point that he got involved in the fight, NBC reports.
Swedish authorities say one person, identified as 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari, was beaten and cut with broken bottles.
Swedish prosecutors, of course, see things differently.
As the Washington Post explains:
The prosecution has argued that evidence shows Rocky and his associates did not act in self-defense when the assault began. They also stand accused of using a bottle to attack the plaintiff, who is seeking more than $14,000 in damages.
Swedish prosecutors have also said Rocky and his associates edited a video of the fracas the rapper posted on his Instagram account to make it appear as though the rapper’s group were the victims rather than the instigator.
If convicted, Rocky faces up to two years in jail.