Rapper A$AP Rocky charged with assault in Sweden, will remain in custody until trial

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By Saphora Smith  with NBC News World News
Image: ASAP Rocky
U.S. rapper ASAP Rocky attends the Alexander Wang Spring/Summer 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week, in 2012.   -   Copyright  Andrew Burton

LONDON — American rapper A$AP Rocky has been charged with assault in Sweden and will remain in jail until the trial, Swedish prosecutors said Thursday.

Stockholm's District Court has yet to decide on a start date for the trial, according to the statement from the Swedish Prosecution Authority, meaning it remains unclear how long Rocky will be held in custody.

"I have today commenced criminal proceedings against the three individuals 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," said public prosecutor Daniel Suneson.

The rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, 30, was detained on "probable grounds for serious assault" on July 3. He was in Sweden to headline Smash x Stadion, a two-day hip-hop festival in the country's capital.

Rocky and members of his entourage were alleged to have been involved in a brawl on June 30 in downtown Stockholm in which authorities said a person was beaten and cut with broken bottles. He has denied the assault accusation.

Rocky's lawyer Slobodan Jovicic has maintained that Rocky and his associates were acting in self-defense after being provoked by the other men on the street.

"They begged and pleaded to be left alone," he said.

Last week, a district court judge ruled that Rocky was a flight risk and should remain in jail while the prosecutor's office investigated the case.

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Rocky's arrest has caused an uproar among celebrities in the U.S., with Kim Kardashian West and Justin Bieber among those callingfor Sweden to free him.

President Donald Trump also responded to calls to help Rocky at the behest of Kanye West and first lady Melania Trump. He tweeted last week that he had spoken to West and that he would call "the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping" Rocky.

However, the next day Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven warned that Rocky would not get special treatment despite Trump's public intervention in the case.

"I will explain that the Swedish judicial system is independent," Löfven said of a possible call with the president.

"In Sweden, everyone is equal before the law, and this includes visitors from other countries."