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UPDATE 3-U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky spared jail after being found guilty of Stockholm brawl

Reuters | Stockholm | Updated: 15-08-2019 01:37 IST | Created: 15-08-2019 01:36 IST
UPDATE 3-U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky spared jail after being found guilty of Stockholm brawl
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U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky was convicted in Sweden on Wednesday of assault over a Stockholm street brawl but spared time in jail after a high-profile trial that had led President Donald Trump to accuse Sweden of treating him unfairly. A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and two members of his entourage were found guilty of kicking and beating 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari after an argument. But the court said allegations they hit him with a glass bottle, which might have brought a tougher sentence, were not proven.

"In an overall assessment, the court finds that the assault has not been of such a serious nature that a prison sentence must be chosen," Senior Judge Per Lennerbrant told a courtroom packed with reporters. In a comment posted on Instagram, Mayers said he was disappointed with the verdict and that it had been a difficult time.

"Imma keeps moving forward," he said. "Thank you to my team, my management, attorneys, label and everyone who advocated for justice." The rapper, who shot to fame with his 2011 debut "Live.Love.A$AP", was not a court for the verdict. He was released on Aug. 2 after 31 days in jail and a three-day trial, in what legal experts said at the time was a sign the judge was likely not to jail him further.

The court said the fact that the defendants had no prior convictions over the past five years and had already spent time in custody awaiting trial meant they would not serve further time in prison or pay any fine. Prosecutor Daniel Suneson told Reuters he had not yet decided whether he would appeal any part of the verdict.

"The court has been of the same view as me, with one big exception, which is whether or not a blow was dealt with a glass bottle," he said. "Beyond that, I feel the court made an accurate assessment." Slobodan Jovicic, Mayers' Swedish lawyer, told reporters that despite the verdict, the court had ruled in favor of his client regarding some aspects of the case.

"We didn't succeed all the way but on the other hand we got many points proven," he said, adding that he had contacted his client about the verdict via text message and would speak to him later on Wednesday.

SELF-DEFENCE

The case drew global attention, particularly after Trump offered to vouch for the rapper's bail and asked Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to help free him. Sweden does not have a bail system and Lofven pointed to Sweden's independent judiciary saying he could not intervene. Trump tweeted messages saying he was disappointed in Lofven and demanding: "Treat Americans fairly!"

Other celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Rod Stewart, had also spoken out in support of the rapper. During the trial, both the defense and prosecution made liberal use of video taken on mobile phones during the altercation. The prosecution said that after an argument, Mayers threw Jafari to the ground, after which he and the two others kicked and punched the teenager.

Mayers said he acted in self-defense after the teenager attacked his bodyguard. The court said it had been proven that the artist and two of his party had hit and kicked the plaintiff as he lay on the ground, and discounted their claims of self-defense.

Mayers, best known for his song "Praise the Lord", had been in Stockholm for a concert at the time of the fight. He had to cancel several shows across Europe due to his detention. He is due in neighboring Finland on August 16 to play the Blockfest festival in Tampere.


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