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The trial of President Trump’s favorite rapper, A$AP Rocky, started in Sweden on Tuesday, with the rapper pleading not guilty to assault.
Prosecutors in Stockholm told the court that A$AP Rocky and two other men believed to be part of his entourage “deliberately, together and in agreement” attacked the alleged victim, Mustafa Jafari, in the Swedish capital on June 30.
The rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested on July 3, and his case caused a minor diplomatic incident when Trump got involved. Trump called for Mayers’ release on Twitter and then called Sweden’s “very talented” prime minister, Stefan Löfven, to plead his case.
But it was all for naught: Swedish authorities charged the rapper last week, and Löfven told the New York Times that “in Sweden, everyone is equal before the law.”
On Tuesday morning the prosecution set out its case, showing the court videos of the alleged assault and police photographs of bloodstains and broken glass left in the street. They also showed images of Jafari’s injuries, which included a broken rib and cuts to his head, arms, and legs that required hospital treatment and stitches.
Jafari is seeking 139,700 Swedish kronor ($14,700) in damages for his injuries, lost income and damages to his appearance.
Mayers has repeatedly said he’s innocent and was acting in self-defense. He released a video of his own that appears to show two men trailing and harassing him. In the video, Mayers says he doesn’t want to fight, and the men are repeatedly asked to leave. Another edited video appears to show the men throwing Jafari to the ground.
“He admits that he threw the plaintiff on the ground, that he stepped on his arm, and punched or pushed his shoulder,” Mayers’ lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, told the court, but he insisted it was a case of self-defense.
Mayers’ mother, Renee Black, was seen entering the courtroom Tuesday morning, with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet saying she appeared “like she was about to burst into tears.”
Mayers and Jafari will face cross-examination later on Tuesday, the Guardian reports.
There's tight security around the trial, which is being held in a secure courtroom “because of strong interest from the media and the public,” the Stockholm court said, noting that no photographing or filming will take place during the proceedings.
Cover: A$AP Rocky attends the "Monster" cast party at Chase Sapphire on Main on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for Chase Sapphire/AP Images)