Rocky had maintained that he was acting in self-defense, but the Swedish judge presiding over his case said the evidence did not support that claim. The judge did, however, conclude that the charges against Rocky were not as serious as presented by prosecutors and — given mitigating circumstances — did not merit a prison sentence.
“This act has not been of such a serious nature that a custodial sentence is something that must be chosen,” the presiding judge, Per Lennerbrant, said after the verdict was delivered on Wednesday.
But Rocky and his associates, Bladimir Emilio Corniel and David Tyrone Rispers, will still have to pay a total compensation of about $1,300 to the victim, 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari, and court fees related to the trial.
They had faced up to two years in jail for assaulting the man, but their temporary release after the trial ended on Aug. 2 was seen as an indication that he would be found not guilty or be sentenced to time served.
Rocky, whose birth name is Rakim Mayers, indicated over the weekend that he had expected to avoid prison.
“Hopefully we won’t have to go back to jail or nothing like that, that would be crazy,” he said, according to Reuters.
Rocky, 30, testified during the trial that he had begged the accuser to back off during what he described as a random street encounter and asserted that he had only acted in self-defense.
The court said video evidence and witness testimony did not support the rapper’s version of events.
“Based on statements from two witnesses, the court finds that the defendants were not subject to a current or imminent criminal attack. Therefore, they were not in a situation where they were entitled to use violence in self-defense,” the court said in a statement accompanying Wednesday’s verdict.
But the presiding judge added that “the prosecutor has not been able to prove that the victim was struck in the back of the head with a bottle or that he was in any other way assaulted with bottles. This has affected the assessment of the seriousness of the crime.”
Looming over the brief trial were repeated statements and tweets from Trump urging Sweden’s prime minister to intervene on Rocky’s behalf. Trump’s advocacy had been prompted by support for Rocky from celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West and Justin Bieber — along with a handful of Democratic lawmakers who complained about the rapper’s lengthy pretrial detention.
Swedish leaders criticized Trump, saying they viewed his request as an attempt to interfere with the country’s independent judiciary.
Swedes were further mystified when Trump dispatched his hostage affairs envoy, Robert C. O’Brien, to Stockholm to attend the trial.
Rocky’s return to the United States as he awaited a verdict was celebrated by Trump with a tweet.
“A$AP Rocky released from prison and on his way home to the United States from Sweden,” Trump tweeted. “It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!”
At a news conference on Wednesday, Lennerbrant, the presiding judge, appeared to address criticism in Sweden of the way the high-profile trial was handled, saying, “it’s not really an unusual thing for this to happen in this way.”
There was no immediate reaction from Trump or Rocky’s other supporters on Wednesday’s verdict.