WORLD NEWS

Trump Sends Hostage Crisis Envoy To A$AP Rocky Trial In Sweden

Diplomat Robert O’Brien's appearance is another sign of the president's involvement in the rapper's case.

As the trial of American rapper A$AP Rocky kicked off Tuesday in Sweden, Robert O’Brien, a presidential envoy used in hostage crises, was spotted in the courtroom, according to The Associated Press.

The diplomat’s appearance is another indication of President Donald Trump’s ongoing involvement in Rocky’s case after he was charged with assault following a confrontation in Stockholm last month. 

“The president asked me to come here and support these American citizens,” O’Brien told The New York Times. “I’ll be here until they come home.”

Ruth Newman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, told Swedish news outlet TT that O’Brien was there “to look after the well-being of American citizens, which is always our top priority,” the AP reported.

Rocky, 30, whose legal name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested on July 3 and is accused of assaulting Mustafa Jafari, 19, during a June 30 altercation.

The rapper has pleaded not guilty.

The case has prompted an outcry from certain Democratic lawmakers and celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Trump has demanded Rocky’s release.

Less than two weeks ago, Trump spoke with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, tweeting that they had a “very good call” and that he was personally assured that Rocky “will be treated fairly.”

Trump said he even offered to vouch for Rocky’s bail but there is no such system in Sweden.

Making clear that the rapper would receive no special treatment, Löfven’s spokesperson said the prime minister “made sure to point out that the Swedish judicial system, prosecutors and courts, are completely independent.”

“He also pointed out that everyone is equal before the law and that the government neither can nor will try to influence the judicial process.”

On Thursday, Trump tweeted that he was “very disappointed” that Löfven was unable to help, stating his country had “let our African American Community down in the United States.”

“I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers,” he wrote. “Treat Americans fairly!”

While it remains unclear exactly what occurred during the altercation, videos posted on Rocky’s Instagram page show two men following the rapper and his entourage as he asks them to go away.

“We don’t want to fight y’all,” Rocky can be heard saying.

One of the clips shows a brief physical fight in which one of the men throws an object at one of Rocky’s associates.

Footage published online by TMZ shows a significantly more graphic fight in which Rocky appears to hurl a man to the pavement and beat him with others.

Rocky claims to have been acting in self-defense.

Prosecutor Daniel Suneson told Reuters that while he takes provocation into consideration, he still believes a crime has been committed. 

“The artist is the one who threw the victim to the ground and then, together with two other suspects, dealt him blows and kicks,” he said.

According to the Times, Rocky is expected to testify once the trial resumes on Thursday.

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