Sweden’s justice minister on Thursday accused Donald Trump of threatening a trade war in 2019 unless the country releases rapper A$AP Rocky, who was arrested at the time on charges of assaulting a fan.
The rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayer, was arrested after he and several of his bodyguards beat up a man they claimed was following them around, shouting racist insults at them. A video of the incident showed the rapper and his crew beating the man. Police added that a witness told them by Rocky or a member of his crew threw a bottle at the victim as well.
Rocky was arrested and charged with assault by the Swedish police. He was eventually convicted of assault but was given a suspended prison sentence and allowed to leave the country.
After the arrest, while Rocky was in custody, Donald Trump, who was president of the United States at the time, continued to pressure Sweden to release the rapper.
Currently, speak Swedish newspaper Dagen’s NytterAnd Attorney General Morgan Johansson claimed Trump was so insistent about Rocky’s release that he warned the Swedish government that he could impose “trade restrictions” on Sweden unless the rapper was released.
Johansson insisted that the lesson of the incident was that nations needed to defend their principles.
“This story shows how important it is to stand up for our legal principles and not take our democracy for granted,” he said. “If you could try to do something like that against Sweden, what would you try to do next to the slightly weaker countries that the EU doesn’t support?”
The president used a number of tactics to pressure Sweden to dispense with its efforts at Roque Prison. He made a series of pleas for Rocky’s release. He even sent a special envoy to Sweden to monitor Rocky’s situation.
While the state formally dismissed Trump’s public protest, his case was accelerated, until Rocky was allowed to leave the country before a guilty verdict was issued.
The case was not as cut and dry as the Swedish authorities had thought. The main charge against Rocky is that he or a member of his crew threw a glass bottle at the victim. But a prosecution witness later retracted that claim.
Ultimately, Trump felt vindicated when Rocky was released just two months after his arrest and indictment, tweeting “go home ASAP” after hearing the verdict.
But the attorney general’s tale of Trump’s threats is not entirely new. Back in August of 2019, it was reported that Trump had warned of “negative consequences” if the Rocky case was not quickly resolved.