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STOCKHOLM -- A Swedish court ruled on Wednesday (Aug. 14) that rapper A$AP Rocky was guilty of misdemeanor assault, but would not need to serve jail time in a case that drew international scrutiny for Swedish authorities’ jailing of the American artist for nearly five weeks while they investigated the attack.
In a published ruling from the Swedish District Court, a judge ruled that Rocky (born Rakim Mayers) and two of his associates also involved in the assault would be put on informal probation. The court said that no fines or community service were justified in light of Rocky having spent nearly five weeks behind bars during the pre-trial detention period.
But the court said that Rocky and his fellow defendants would have to pay about $1,300 in restitution to the victim of the assault, 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari -- less than half the amount Jafari had requested -- and nearly $21,000 for Jafari’s legal fees.
The court found that Rocky had admitted that he “threw Jafari to the ground and intentionally stomped his arm and punched…Jafari’s shoulder.” It rejected the rapper’s contention that he acted in self-defense, saying that the situation did not justify a violent reaction from the 30-year-old Harlem, New York, native. Rocky, who had pleaded not guilty in the case, said Jafari would not leave him and his group alone during the June 30 street brawl in Stockholm, claiming that he had attempted to avoid the confrontation with Jafari and another man who were following his crew. The rapper, who was not present for the verdict, was facing up to two years in prison.
Rocky's lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, expressed his client's displeasure with the verdict following the court's ruling, saying, "My client is very disappointed with the sentence."
The major contention by prosecutors and Jafari -- that Rocky had attacked him with a glass bottle -- had not been proven. “Nobody besides Mustafa Jafari…mentioned anything about being hit with a glass bottle,” the court wrote.
A pair of eyewitnesses testified during Rocky’s trial two weeks ago that they did not see the rapper using any sort of bottle as a weapon during the altercation with Jafari. The court ruled that the fact that Rocky initially distanced himself from Jafari, that the injuries were judged to have not been so serious, and that the attack itself transpired over only a few seconds were all factors in why a prison term was not warranted.
The court also said that beyond the restitution and legal fees it did not fine Rocky or require community service in light of him having served so much jail time already. A judge released Rocky on Aug. 2 and he returned home to the United States while awaiting the verdict. Two other defendants that were locked up with Rocky were also released from Swedish detention after the judge found them not to be a flight risk.
Rocky’s arrest and jailing in Stockholm attracted international attention from celebrities including Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, as well as Pres. Donald Trump, who urged Swedish authorities to release the rapper after he was jailed. The MC made his first post-incarceration concert appearance on Sunday at the Real Street Festival in Anaheim, Calif., calling his jail time in Sweden a “scary, humbling experience.”
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