Rapper A$AP Rocky, who President Donald Trump is bidding to rescue, claimed in testimony Thursday that he begged with his alleged victim to stop unrelentingly stalking and harassing him before resorting to self-defense.
The 30-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, is facing aggravated assault charges in Sweden, along with two men who were members of his entourage, after brawling with a 19-year-old Afghan migrant Mustafa Jafari in Stockholm.
Wearing an all-green inmate uniform during an emotional plea at the start of the trial, Rocky maintained in the Stockholm District Court that he is not guilty and he only resorted to fighting Jaria to protect himself.
Rocky said he left his hotel on June 30 with his assistant to explore the country’s architecture when Jafari and 20-year-old Dawod Hosseini, began following him.
“This is my 5th or 6th time here. I have seen the most beautiful architecture. And the not-so-nice things … what I want is justice. I want my name to be cleared. Justice for all of us,” he said, according to TMZ.
Rocky told the court Thursday he initially ignored Jafari and Hosseini, who were ostensibly intoxicated, as his bodyguard handled the matter while he observed the pair ignore his guard’s multiple requests asking them to leave.
“Me and my crew told them that, ‘Listen, don’t go where we are going. Go the other way, we don’t want any trouble,’” he said. “I assumed that these guys were under the influence of some kind of drug,’ Rocky told the court.”
Rocky said he then stopped at a fast-food restaurant to download an app to use an electric scooter when the situation escalated. The guard asked the two Muslim men again to leave in an attempt “deescalate” the situation, he said, but they refused and began incoherently arguing.
“After a while, my security guard started pushing him away, begging him to leave,” Rocky said. “[Jafari] was persistent, he kept coming after us, and kept going ‘come on, come on,’”
“We attempted to walk away and when we walked away we were followed. We begged them not to follow us,” he added.
The guard resorted to lifting one of the men up and carried him away, he came back. Rocky said he was“shocked and scared” as he witnessed the altercation intensify and felt compelled to intervene.
Finally, he and his crew took matters into his own hands and retaliated. Rocky pushed Jafari to the floor and began swinging at him.
“At this moment, both of the guys attacked [the security guard]. That’s when I stepped in and threw him on the ground and kicked his arm. I punched him or shoved him,” he said.
Video of Rocky requesting Jafari leave him alone, proclaiming he did not want to fight, was publicly disclosed by TMZ earlier this month.
“We don’t want to fight ya’ll, we’re not trying to go to jail,” Rocky can be heard saying, as Jafari and Hosseini continuously approach the rapper and his bodyguard.”
As Rocky recounted, he is seen in the video begging Jafari to stop following him, but the Afghan migrant ignored him and blurred out accusations of the rapper confiscating his headphones.
President lashed out Swedish Prime Minister last Thursday over what he argues is the unfair treatment of the Rocky after he was charged with assault.
In one of his tweets, Trump referenced the footage verifying it was the two Muslim men who, in fact, targeted Rocky.
The president directed his envoy of hostage affairs, Robert C. O’Brien, who typically advises senior government officials on hostage situations overseas, to support the defendants and appear in court where Rocky is standing trial.
“I’ll be here until they come home,” Obrien, whose has spent his tenure trying to free Americans from places like Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and Syria, told reporters.
Asked whether Rocky’s case was appropriate for a hostage affairs envoy to oversee, he responded, “The president sent me here, so it’s totally appropriate. I also help free people that are held by governments – so unjustly detained Americans,” he said.
Trump’s intervention allowed Rocky’s parents to visit him in jail, Obrien announced in a tweet Thursday.
The president also instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to oversee O’Brien.
Trump first learned of Rocky’s case in early July when rapper Kanye West asked his wife Kim Kardashian West, who is working with the Trump administration on prison reform, to request the White House to advocate on Rocky’s behalf.
Sweden is facing accusations of racism and human rights abuses for its treatment of Rocky. Now the president is treating Rocky’s case as a hostage situation. However, top Democrats are blasting Trump or his ongoing involvement in bringing home American rapper.
2020 presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) claims the commander-in-chief is “playing politics with his role of leadership” and his actions to help Rocky are a “misuse of power.”
When asked what he was “going to do” to free Rocky, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) broke out in laughter, declaring, “not much for the moment.”
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