A$AP Rocky Takes Stand in Court Over Street Brawl in  Stockholm

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American rapper A$AP Rocky takes the stand in a Swedish court on Thursday to give his account of a street brawl, in an assault case that has stirred diplomatic tensions and outraged fans.

Rocky was charged last week with assault, which maximum penalty is two years in jail and has spent two weeks in custody.

The artist was remanded in custody while the case was being investigated as he was considered a “flight risk”.

Fans of A$AP Rocky along with reporters were lined up outside the court in Stockholm in the early morning for a chance to hear the rapper testify.

The ‘’Praise the Lord’’ rapper was apprehended on July 3 along with three members of his entourage involved in the fight but his bodyguard was later released.

At the trial’s opening on Tuesday, Rocky pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintained he was acting in self defence.

As the proceedings resumed on Thursday, the defence cross-examined the 19 year old plaintiff who alleged that he was attacked by the rapper and his entourage when he followed them to ask about a pair of headphones that got broken in an earlier brawl with the artist’s bodyguard.

The video evidence shared by US celebrity news outlet TMZ and the rapper himself has been the center of the trial, and whether a bottle had been used as a weapon during the alleged assault.

The video published by TMZ shows the rapper throwing a young man to the ground and apparently aiming several punches at him while he is down.

The court has also seen the video posted on the artist’s own Instagram, purporting to show the lead-up to the brawl, which the prosecution argued had been heavily edited.

Slobodan Jovicic, Rocky’s lawyer argued that the rapper’s actions were due to the “threatening, aggressive and deeply provoking behaviour” displayed by the plaintiff and his friend.

Jovicic told the court “He admits that he threw the plaintiff on the ground, that he stepped on his arm and punched or pushed his shoulder,” he argued that it was self defence.

The trial has been scheduled to conclude on Friday.

The court then has to announce a verdict date and rule on whether the accused should still be detained in the meantime.

Fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have been campaigning for his release.

An online petition called #JusticeForRocky has garnered more than 640,000 signatures. Social media campaigns have urged fans to boycott Swedish brands such as IKEA.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the rapper to be freed, drawing complaints of interference from Swedish politicians.

Robert C. O’Brien, US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, has been sent to attend the trial.

“The president asked me to come here and support these American citizens and we’re working to bring them back as soon as possible,” O’Brien said.




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