03 August 2019 | Linda Givetash | NBC News
The U.S. government warned Sweden of “negative consequences” as it advocated for rapper ASAP Rocky during his trial for assault chargesin Stockholm this week, according to a pair of letters released by the Swedish Prosecution Authority.
Rocky was released from jail on Friday pending the verdict, with President Donald Trump celebrating the news on Twitter. “It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!” Trump said.
The rapper landed back on U.S. soil Saturday, leaving behind him the looming verdict in an episode that has led to unexpected tension between the U.S. and its European ally.
According to the letters, obtained by NBC News partner Aftonbladet, the U.S. special presidential envoy for hostage affairs wrote to Swedish prosecutors urging them to release Rocky.
“The government of the United States of America wants to resolve this case as soon as possible to avoid potentially negative consequences to the U.S.-Swedish bilateral relationship,” Amb. Robert O’Brien wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday.
In response Sweden’s prosecutor-general, Petra Lundh, defended the independence of Swedish courts and said she therefore had to deny O’Brien’s requests.
“No other prosecutor, not even I, may interfere with a specific case or try to affect the prosecutor responsible,” Lundh wrote in a letter dated Thursday.
The letters marked the latest intervention by U.S. officials in a case that has commanded the attention of figures ranging from the president to Justin Bieber.
Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested and charged with assault over a street brawl in the Swedish capital on June 30.
Trump said he spoke to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven asking for his release and “offered to personally vouch for his bail.”
Löfven responded to Trump’s public pressure, saying the rapper would not get special treatment and that the judicial system was free to act independently without political sway.