US rapper A$AP Rocky released until assault verdict on August 14

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN: The Stockholm district court said Friday that US rapper A$AP Rocky should be released from custody, pending the verdict of an assault trial that has garnered global attention and stirred fan outrage.

The rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has been in custody in Sweden since he was arrested on July 3 after a street brawl, but on the last day of his trial the court decided to release him, pending the verdict.

“Rakim Mayers… (and the two others accused) are no longer going to be remanded in custody,” presiding judge Per Lennerbrant told the court, adding that the court’s verdict would be made available on August 14.

US rapper A$AP Rocky on Thursday told a Stockholm court he felt “scared” and had tried to “walk away” before a street brawl, in an assault case that has stirred diplomatic tensions and outraged fans.

The artist faces up to two years in prison over the incident, which saw him and his crew embroiled in a physical fight with a 19-year-old plaintiff in Stockholm on June 30.

The rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, appeared calm as he recounted how he and his entourage had repeatedly told the plaintiff to leave them alone.

“We pleaded, and we begged him,” said Mayers who is on trial along with two other people.

He said the plaintiff’s behaviour seemed “fearless” and beyond his bodyguard’s control. “That’s what scared us the most,” he said.

The artist also told the court that his life was “unique and particular,” and explained that 10 months earlier he had been stabbed in his face by strangers.

Mayers conceded he “threw” the plaintiff to the ground and “kicked his arm”, but denied the prosecution’s claim that a bottle was used and insisted he only acted after the accuser and his friend began attacking his bodyguard.

The defence has argued Mayers acted out of self-defence and entered a not-guilty plea.

Ahead of Thursday’s hearings, dozens of fans joined a sea of reporters and cameras outside the tribunal in Stockholm for a chance to hear the rapper testify. Some supporters pleaded “please, please” for the limited tickets handed out by court security officers.

Mayers’ mother Renee Black showed up for the trial’s second day wearing a black shirt with the words “A$AP Rocky” printed on the front and back.

The rapper was arrested on July 3 along with three other people following the fight. His bodyguard was later released.

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