Donald Trump says he's working to free A$AP Rocky from Sweden as rapper's detention enters third week

The Associated Press

Jul 20, 2019 12:11:05 IST

WASHINGTON | Urged on by the first lady and celebrities including Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, US President Donald Trump said on Friday he is trying to help free rapper A$AP Rocky, who has been held in police custody in Sweden for weeks.

“I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky,” Trump tweeted from aboard Air Force One, where he said he had just spoken with Kanye West about Rocky’s situation.

Rocky, a platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated artist whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has been behind bars since early this month as Swedish police investigates a fight he was allegedly involved in in Stockholm before appearing at a music festival. It was not clear who else was involved, but videos published on social media appear to show a person being violently thrown onto the ground by Rocky. A defense lawyer has said it was self-defense.

The case has earned the attention of a slew of celebrities, including recording artist and producer Sean “Diddy” Combs; singer Justin Bieber; singer Shawn Mendes; actress Jada Pinkett Smith; Kardashian West’s mother, reality star Kris Jenner; singer Nicki Minaj; and rapper Post Malone, as well as Kardashian West, who has worked with the Trump administration on criminal justice reform issues.

Rocky’s lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, told The Associated Press that his client was aware of the president’s comments and “is very thankful for everyone who has reached out to show their support.”

“It means a lot to him, but we are focused on the case that we have in front of us,” he added.

Trump did not mention Kardashian West or Kushner to reporters in the Oval Office on Friday and said it was his wife who had originally brought the case to his attention.

“Many, many members of the African American community have called me, friends of mine, and said, ‘Could you help?’ So I personally don’t know A$AP Rocky, but I can tell you that he has tremendous support from the African American community in this country,” he said.

“We’ll be talking to them,” Trump said, referring to Swedish officials. “We’ve already started.”

“We know that this is a high priority for the president and the State Department, at the instruction of the president,” said Kareem Lanier, co-chair of the Urban Revitalization Coalition who credited the White House with ensuring Rocky A$AP was moved to better holding conditions.

“Any time President Trump gets involved in anything, it brings a level of attention” to an issue that cannot be matched by those who “don’t have that cache or reach,” Lanier said.

Stockholm’s District Court decided Friday that Rocky would remain in custody another week to allow police to complete their investigation. They have until July 25.

Jovicic, Rocky’s attorney, said he felt the decision was “unjust,” but remains confident in his case.

Updated Date: Jul 20, 2019 12:31:50 IST