Verdict due in A$AP Rocky's assault trial

ASAP Rocky attends Rihanna's 4th Annual Diamond Ball benefitting The Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018 in New York City.

AFP

SWEDEN - A Stockholm court will rule on Wednesday on whether US rapper A$AP Rocky is guilty of assault over a street brawl in a case that has outraged fans and stoked diplomatic tensions.

The 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested on July 3 following a fight in Stockholm on June 30 in which he and his entourage were embroiled with a 19-year-old plaintiff.

Mayers will not be present in Stockholm for the verdict, which is due at 2pm.

Prosecutor Daniel Suneson called for a six-month prison sentence for Mayers and two of his crew, while the defence argued they acted in self-defence and should be acquitted.

READ: US rapper ASAP Rocky to be tried for assault

Considered a "flight risk", Mayers was held in custody while the case was investigated and throughout his trial.

But he was released after the close of proceedings on August 2, pending the verdict, and immediately returned to the United States.

Fans and fellow artists campaigned for his release with an online petition called #JusticeForRocky garnering more than 640,000 signatures. Supporters were urged to boycott Swedish brands such as Ikea.

At his first performance following his release on Sunday, in Anaheim in California, the rapper thanked fans and called the experience in Sweden "scary" and "humbling".

"I need y'all to keep praying for me," he told the crowd, saying he hoped he would not have to return to serve a jail sentence.

- Rapper felt 'scared' -

The artist maintained his innocence, telling the court he acted in self-defence, saying he felt "scared" and that he and his entourage had repeatedly told the plaintiff to leave them alone.

Mayers conceded he threw the man to the ground and "kicked his arm", but denied the prosecution's claim that a bottle was used and insisted he only acted after the accuser and his friend began attacking his bodyguard.

The plaintiff, a Swedish resident born in Afghanistan, alleged he was attacked by Mayers and his entourage when he followed them to ask about a headphone set broken in an earlier scuffle with the rapper's bodyguard.

Assault carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison in Sweden.

Source
AFP