The rapper A$AP Rocky is charged with assault causing actual bodily harm against two men in Sweden. Two of Rocky’s bodyguards are also charged in the case. Rocky has argued self-defense.
The charge is punishable by up to two years in prison.
Rocky was in Stockholm for a concert. A video posted on Rocky’s Instagram shows the two men needling and harassing Rocky while Rocky and his entourage repeatedly ask them to stop before a fight breaks out. A prosecutor states the two men werekicked, punched, and hit with a glass bottle in the fight. The prosecutor also said additional videos will be played at trial.
Rocky will remain in custody until the trial scheduled for next week. In Sweden, the law gives no bail to foreigners, who could theoretically be a flight risk. The events resulting in the charge occurred on June 30 – making a trial next week an amazingly fast affair. (For example, in Michigan a person would probably get bail and go to trial months later. Our Constitution guarantees the right to reasonable bail).
Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and Justin Bieber have appealed to President Trump to help Rocky. Trump called the Swedish Prime Minister to seek bail for Rocky. The Prime Minister said no. Trump tweeted his support for Rocky and offered to post bail or provide some alternative.
Defending Assault Charges
The Michigan equivalent charge of the Swedish charge of assault causing actual bodily harm would seem to be aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Aggravated assault is essentially an assault resulting in an injury serious enough to require medical attention.
In fighting assault charges there are essentially two strands of defenses. You can argue the assault (or battery) did not happen – and the accuser is lying or mistaken for whatever reason. The second type of defense is to say the assault did happen but was justified for some reason, such as self-defense, or was an unintentional accident. There can be overlap between the two lines of defense, but those are the two directions an assault defense can take.
The trial will take place next week Tuesday. Rocky’s lawyer claims innocence and asserts a self-defense case. Stay tuned for updates.
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Sam Bernstein is a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ann Arbor.
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