A$AP Rocky testifies he acted in self-defense, pleads not guilty
A$AP Rocky has pleaded not guilty to his assault charges amid a trial in Sweden. Rocky’s trial commenced on Tuesday, July 30 in Stockholm District Court. The rapper and two members of his entourage were charged with assault for allegedly attacking Mustafa Jafari in Stockholm on June 30. Rocky has been in jail since July 3.
Both Rocky and Jafari gave statements regarding the incident on day two of the trial on Thursday, August 1. Jafari claimed during his cross-examination that he was looking for a friend when he approached Rocky’s group and that he was unaware that Rocky was famous. He also claimed that his attackers were holding glass bottles.
Man being asked about rings on his right hand. He is wearing them now + confirms he wore them on day he alleges he was assaulted. He is being asked what it might feel like to be pushed or punched with those rings. Man says he did not punch anyone with those rings. #ASAPRocky— Larissa Kennelly (@LarissaKennelly) August 1, 2019
A majority of Thursday’s trial focused on analyzing videos of the scene and assessing whether broken bottles had been used as weapons or not. Red circles were drawn around Rocky’s hands and those of his entourage. Prosecution wasn’t able to confirm a DNA match to Rocky or his co-defendants on the alleged weapon.
“I felt like they were going to beat me to death,” the 19-year old Jafari told the court.
The prosecution went through a 522-page preliminary report containing extensive photographs of injuries the Jafari sustained.
Rocky’s defense lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, questioned the accuser’s claims of having to approach Rocky’s group to locate a friend. He asked why the accuser returned to the group three minutes after being told to leave by the bodyguard as well as why the alleged victim chose to approach “a group that speaks another language” and challenged the sobriety of the accuser’s behavior.
Rocky was also cross-examined during day two about the circumstances leading up to the incident. He stated that the group was in the area for a show and wanted to explore using electric scooters. While they waited for the app to download, two men approached his security guard before returning moments later, prompting his guard to actively block them from Rocky. Rocky claims that then, Jafari hit his guard with a pair of headphones. Rocky further comments that their behavior was “really weird” and “it got a little scary.”
“He was fearless, his eyes were all weird, he came up to a big bodyguard and asked us questions he knew we couldn’t answer. He looked like he was on drugs,” #ASAPRocky says of Mustafa Jafari’s behaviour on night of brawl in Stockholm that led to his assault charge— Kim Hjelmgaard (@khjelmgaard) August 1, 2019
Lawyer also says ASAP did not participate in kicking and punching the plaintiff once the latter was on the ground; says ASAP&Co. had only peaceful intentions.— Markus Karlsson (@MarketsMarkus) July 30, 2019
ASAP Rocky says the situation was “crazy” and says his bodyguard tried to intimidate the man but that it didn’t work. He is being asked if he thought the situation was under control. He says no. #ASAPRocky— Larissa Kennelly (@LarissaKennelly) August 1, 2019
In regards to the bottles, Rocky admits to picking one up “momentarily” to prevent the accuser from accessing it before deciding the decision was “stupid.”
Prosecutors pointed to alleged text messages from Rocky’s assistant and others that stated “Harlem came out and smashed a bottle on a person.” The messages also discussed deleted footage on Rocky’s phone that may have been potentially incriminating.
#ASAPRocky’s response to these messages is he doesn’want to speculate about what they mean and prosecutors need to ask his assistant, his manager and his security guard, all of whom were messaging one another. He says video he put out was intended to “counter” TMZ footage— Kim Hjelmgaard (@khjelmgaard) August 1, 2019
Rocky explained how this encounter was informed by past experiences of being followed, harassed, and robbed as a result of being a celebrity. He has repeatedly stated how he and his team are unfamiliar with Sweden and did not know how to call for help. Rocky says his security guards acted to protect him and that none of the group wanted to provoke the situation.
“I have spent a month in Sweden. This is my 5th or 6th time here. I have seen the most beautiful architecture. And the not so nice things … People have said I could be compensated … What I want is justice. I want my name to be cleared. Justice for all of us,” Rocky said in his final statement.
On Friday, August 2, the final day of the trial, the man who was accompanying Jafari on the day of the incident testified that he saw Rocky and his cohorts “throw” his friend, and that the men did not appear “afraid,” as they had testified. There was also discord about whether or not Jafari had initially approached Rocky and his entourage in search of hash. Jafari’s friend testified that he, too, was “attacked.”
Prosecution says violence needs to be proportionate for claim of self defence. He claims that there is too much violence – the throw and kicking while the alleged victim was lying down. He says the throw was already more than needed. #ASAPRocky— Larissa Kennelly (@LarissaKennelly) August 2, 2019
The prosecution asked that the court look to previous cases tried in the region for precedent, requesting that Rocky be tried harshly, and urging that the case encroaches on “grave assault.”
Hear audio and view sketch excerpts from the trial below.
AUDIO AND SKETCHES: #ASAPRocky testified at his assault trial in Sweden that he did everything possible to avoid conflict with two men he said persistently followed his entourage in Stockholm, saying that one of the men picked a fight with one of his bodyguards. pic.twitter.com/8a2gPqNjOS— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) August 1, 2019