ASAP Rocky to give evidence in Swedish assault trial

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By Linda Givetash and Alex Ponomarev  with NBC News World News
Image: FILE PHOTO: U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky attends the Alexander Wang Spring
U.S. rapper ASAP Rocky during New York Fashion Week in 2012.   -   Copyright  Andrew Burton

STOCKHOLM — Rapper ASAP Rocky is expected to be cross examined in a Swedish court on Thursday as the trial into his assault charges resumes.

Rocky had headlined Smash x Stadion, a two-day hip-hop festival in the country's capital, before being involved in an alleged street brawl. He was arrested on July 3 on allegations that he and two of his entourage attacked 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari.

The performer, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The two-time Grammy nominee has remained in custody for the weeks between his arrest and the trial because he was deemed a flight risk. His lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, called the ruling to detain him "unjust."

Rocky has had to cancel several shows in his European tour as a result.

The case has attracted global attention with celebrities including reality TV star Kim Kardashian-West and musician Rod Stewart demanding his release, claiming he has been treated unfairly because he is black. President Donald Trump also weighed in, asking Sweden to reconsider the detention order.

Among those present in court on Tuesday when the trial kicked off was U.S. diplomat, Robert C. O'Brien, who is the State Department's special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven had responded saying it wasn't his place to interfere with the judicial system and Rocky wouldn't be given special treatment.

Authorities have said one person was beaten and cut with broken bottles in a June 30 scuffle in the country's capital allegedly involving the rapper and members of his entourage. One bodyguard was released without charge soon after Rocky and two of his associates were arrested.

Before his arrest, videos posted to Rocky's Instagram account shows that he and members of his entourage were arguing with two men on the street, telling the men to stop following them.

In Wednesday's hearing, prosecutor Daniel Suneson showed the judge video from security cameras and witnesses' phones, which he said supported the case against the defendants. He claimed the victim, Jafari, was kicked and punched before being hit over the back with a bottle.

The defense says there is no evidence of this.

Witnesses, along with both the accused and Jafari are expected to be interrogated on Thursday. Closing statements in the case could be made as early as Friday.