US envoy warned Sweden of ‘negative consequences’
A special U.S. presidential envoy warned of “potentially negative consequences” to U.S.-Swedish relations if American rapper A$AP Rocky were not released from prison and allowed to live in a hotel during his trial this week on assault charges in Stockholm, according to media reports.
According to letters obtained by Aftonbladet, the Swedish newspaper, and published by NBC News and CNN, Ambassador Robert O’Brien had sought an “immediate humanitarian release” for Rocky, including supervised detention in a Stockholm hotel.
Sweden’s prosecutor-general, Petra Lundh, declined to get involved, saying that under Swedish law, she could not interfere with the work of independent prosecutors.
Copies of the letters were posted by NBC News
President Donald Trump has personally intervened in the case, even calling Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to offer to post bail for the rapper. Lofven declined to get involved, saying that the Swedish judicial system is independent and that Sweden, in any case, does not have a bail system.
Rocky, and two members of his entourage who were on trial, were allowed to leave Sweden on Friday following their three-day trial to await a verdict Aug. 14.
The 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, flew by private airplane to Los Angeles, arriving Friday night.
Mayers, along with the two other defendants, Bladimir Corniel and David Rispers, had pleaded not guilty and claimed they were acting in self-defense when they became involved in a street brawl with an Afghan immigrant in Stockholm on June 30.
The case attracted global scrutiny after celebrities, including Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, brought it to Trump’s attention. Other entertainers, including Justin Bieber and Rod Stewart also spoke out in Rocky’s support.
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O’Brien, whose title is U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, attended the three-day trial and met with officials from the foreign ministry and justice ministry.
Trump, who had implied in a series of tweets that the performer was treated unfairly in Sweden because he is black, hailed Rocky’s release.
“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$AP!”
In his July 31 letter to the Swedish prosecution authority, O’Brien said he stressed to the Swedish officials in his meetings that the U.S.government “wants to resolve this case as soon as possible to avoid potentially negative consequences to the U.S.-Swedish bilateral relationship.” He did not elaborate.
In explaining Sweden’s independent judicial structure, Lundh told O’Brien: “This mean that no other prosecutor, not even I, may interfere with a specific case or try to affect the prosecutor responsible for the cases in how he or she should decide or otherwise act with regard to the case.”
“I fully respect your commitment in representing your citizens, but as I have explained above, I am unable to and therefore will not take any action to accommodate Your requests,” she wrote in the letter dated Aug. 1
Aftonbladet said the foreign ministry confirmed the meetings, but declined to elaborate on them or to comment on the U.S. threats of negative consequences.
More: President Trump blasts Sweden after rapper A$AP Rocky is charged with assault over fight