Asap Rocky assault verdict due on Wednesday

A Swedish criminal court will present its verdict against American rap artist Rakim Mayers, aka Asap Rocky, who has been charged with assault after a brawl in Stockholm that left a 19-year-old man with cuts and bruising.

Mayers and two co-defendants pleaded not guilty due to self-defence, which in Swedish law must be a near immediate and reasonable response to violence — put simply, a punch for a punch.

In court, neither party disputed that the 19-year-old plaintiff had followed and approached Mayers’ entourage several times on June 30. But the plaintiff denied the accusation that he had attacked Mayers’ bodyguard, which Mayers gave as the reason for hurling the teenager to the ground.

The toss was caught on film by an onlooker who kept filming as Myers and his two co-defendants ran up to the plaintiff to deliver what appeared to be kicks and punches as he lay on the ground.

Mayers was detained a few days later after performing at a festival in Stockholm. A judge granted the prosecutor’s remand request and the artist remained in custody during a three-week police investigation. In late July, Mayers was tried for assault in Stockholm District Court’s high-security chambers: a windowless, underground tribunal used for high flight-risk cases, such as organised crime and terrorism.

The question of self-defence dominated the three-day proceedings, as did the plaintiff’s claim he’d been hit over the head with a glass bottle - potential grounds for an aggravated assault conviction, according to legal experts.

A witness appeared to exonerate Mayers of wielding a weapon, telling the police “it wasn’t Asap who hit [the plaintiff], it was one of his friends”. Mayers himself said he had held a bottle “momentarily” but not put it to use: “It was stupid,” the artist told the court.

The trial was unusually tense by Swedish standards. The presiding judge interrupted proceedings several times to scold the lawyers for being out of line. Mayers’ fame and the US president’s offer to post bail (Sweden has no bail system) meant the trial came under intense scrutiny by both local and foreign media.

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