STOCKHOLM — It looked like a small-time assault case, but, somehow, it swept up Kim Kardashian West, President Donald Trump and the United States’ top hostage negotiator. And Wednesday it reached its climax when judges in Stockholm found rapper ASAP Rocky guilty of assault.
But he will not serve any more jail time, having already spent over a month in a Swedish detention center.
Swedish prosecutors had asked for Rocky to be given a six-month prison sentence for his part in a street brawl in Stockholm on June 30 that left a 19-year-old man bleeding and needing medical treatment.
Rocky said this month during the trial that he had acted in self-defense when he threw the man, Mustafa Jafari, to the ground, and then, along with two members of his entourage, punched and kicked him.
Jafari had repeatedly harassed the rapper’s entourage and had thrown a punch at his bodyguard just before the attack, Rocky said.
The judges found his defense unconvincing, but they decided Rocky had already served enough time and gave him a conditional sentence. Seen as a flight risk, Rocky had been kept in the detention center from July 5, while the case was investigated, until the trial ended Aug. 2.
Trump became a close watcher of the case after rap superstar Kanye West asked his wife, Kardashian West, to seek White House help in winning Rocky’s release from jail.
The president ramped up the pressure on Sweden, a longtime ally, beginning with a cordial phone call to the prime minister, then critical messages on Twitter, and, finally, by dispatching a special envoy for hostage affairs, Robert O’Brien, to watch over the trial.
In a letter to Swedish officials during the trial, O’Brien warned of “negative consequences” for American-Swedish relations if Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was not released.
Swedish officials, including the prime minister, said repeatedly that they would not intervene in the case, citing the rule of law.
The verdict was not a complete surprise. On Aug. 2, at the end of the trial, the judge allowed Rocky and his two co-defendants to be released while they awaited the verdict. They were not required to stay in Sweden and quickly returned to the United States.
Swedish legal experts said at the time that their release was a sign that defendants would most likely be found not guilty, or found guilty and sentenced to time served.