Rapper A$AP Rocky was charged with assault Thursday over a fight before a music festival in Stockholm last month in a case that has become an international diplomatic kerfuffle.
Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, could face up to two years in a Swedish jail if convicted of the charges, the Associated Press reported. But calls for his release have reached a higher pitch in recent days, culminating with tweets from President Trump on Thursday calling out Sweden's prime minister.
"Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act. Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States," Trump tweeted. "I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly! #FreeRocky"
The June 30 fight allegedly broke out after two men began following the "F**kin' Problems" rapper after he broke a pair of their headphones, according to footage first obtained by TMZ. A woman who was with Rocky then accused one of the two men of groping her earlier. The rapper and his crew could then be seen pummeling a man, throwing him across the ground.
Two other individuals, who have not been named, face the same charges. All three have been held in custody since July 3. Unlike the US, Sweden has no bail system.
Rocky’s manager has previously said the artist acted in self-defense after “a group of men” continued to follow, harass, and then physically assault them.
“Video footage shows the assailants following Rocky, while he pleads to them that he does not want any issues. Rocky volunteered to go to police for questioning,” John Ehmann, the rapper’s manager, said in an Instagram post.
Rocky's lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, told CNN he believes his client acted in "self-defense," saying he is "very disappointed" that the prosecutor has "chosen to go with the other party's version" of what happened.
But in a statement about the charges, prosecutor Daniel Suneson said he has viewed more footage of the incident than was available online. He said Rocky and the two others were “suspected of assault causing actual bodily harm, having come to the conclusion that the events in question constitute a crime and despite claims of self-defense and provocation.”
At the urging of celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Trump has stepped up his campaign in support of Rocky. Over the weekend, the president said he urged Löfven to intervene. However, Löfven's press secretary told reporters that the prime minister had insisted his government would not interfere with the judicial system.
Trump said Löfven assured him that "American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly." But on Thursday, Trump bemoaned a perceived lack of action.
"Give A$AP Rocky his FREEDOM," he tweeted. "We do so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around. Sweden should focus on its real crime problem! #FreeRocky"
Prior to Thursday's charges, the rapper's team had tried to get him released from jail. But siding with the prosecutors, a Swedish judge ruled last week that he would remain incarcerated because he was a “flight risk," according to the AP.
Meanwhile, Swedish records obtained by BuzzFeed News, and which were first reported by TMZ, show Rocky's alleged victim, Mustafa Jafari, was himself convicted over a 2015 assault on the streets of Stockholm. As he was a juvenile, he was required to perform 30 hours of community service and pay roughly $500 in restitution to his victim.