It has been revealed by Sweden’s justice minister that Donald Trump threatened the country with a “trade war” if it did not release African American rapper A$AP Rocky.
A$AP, whose real name is Rakim Mayers was arrested outside a fast-food restaurant in Stockholm three years ago when he and two bodyguards were caught on camera punching and jabbing a man with a broken bottle.
According to Mayer’s lawyers, the black rapper had been followed, harassed, and racially abused by ‘fans’ before eventually retaliating in what he said amounted to self-defense.
In captions for the video, which was posted online, Mayers, who was in the city to perform at Stockholm’s Smash festival, accuses the men of following him and his team:
“We don’t know these guys and we didn’t want trouble. They followed us for four blocks,” he wrote.
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In another clip, he wrote that one of the men had hit his security guard “in the face with headphones”.
Trump was made aware of the case by rapper pal Kayne West and he Tweeted his support for the 33-year-old Grammy nominee:
“Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Lovfen for being unable to act. Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States,” wrote Trump.
“I watched the tapes of ASAP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers.
“Treat Americans fairly. #FreeRocky”
He also said he had contacted the European Commission for support and also tried to secure the rapper’s release on grounds of national security and said that the racial backstory to the event meant that Sweden had “let our African community down”.
But Swedish justice minister, Morgan Johansson hit back at Trump’s pleas and accused the (then) president of trying to threaten and blackmail Sweden:
“This story demonstrates how important it really is to stand up for our legal principles and not to take our democracy for granted,” he told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
“If you can try and do something like this against Sweden, what will you then try and do to slightly weaker countries that don’t have the European Union behind them?”
At the time, a spokesperson for Swedish prime minister, Stefan Lofven said the country’s politicians had no say in the outcome of criminal proceedings or cases and said that “everyone is equal before the law”.
Daniel Sunseson, the Swedish prosecutor in charge of the case added that there was “an obvious risk that these suspects would leave the country if they were released.”
Mayers, who is dating popstar Rihanna, 34, who is pregnant with their first child, was charged with assault and was given a suspended sentence. While he is allowed to return to the country, he said he has no desire to do so.
The rapper is currently on bail for an assault with a deadly weapon after a non-fatal shooting in Hollywood last year. He’s currently on tour with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and will perform at gigs in Germany over the course of the month.