The U.S. government reportedly warned Swedish officials that relations might become strained if they refused to release rap star A$AP Rocky, who was arrested in Stockholm on assault charges last month.
The rapper was charged on July 25 for the June 30 incident. But because Sweden has a no-bail system, Rocky had been in jail awaiting trial since authorities began investigating the alleged assault on July 3.
Swedish officials suspected the rapper of an “assault causing actual bodily harm.” But President Donald Trump soon began tweeting that the country should release the rapper.
After a week of mulling the situation, Sweden released the rapper last Friday pending a verdict in his trial. Rocky landed back in the U.S. on Saturday. The president celebrated the rapper’s return saying, “A$AP Rocky released from prison and on his way home to the United States from Sweden. It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!”
A$AP Rocky released from prison and on his way home to the United States from Sweden. It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2019
But now, according to NBC News, backchannel discussions between the U.S. and Sweden led to warnings that relations could sour if the rapper stayed in jail.
“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 a July 31 letter, NBC said.
Sweden’s prosecutor-general, Petra Lundh, reportedly responded by telling U.S. officials that he cannot interfere in matters of the courts.
“No other prosecutor, not even I, may interfere with a specific case or try to affect the prosecutor responsible,” Lundh replied.
Despite the backchanneling, a Swedish judge heard Rocky’s testimony and then released him pending a verdict and even allowed that he could return to the U.S. instead of being required to stay in Sweden.
Rocky shared an emotional message about the whole affair on his Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART TO ALL OF MY FANS, FRIENDS AND ANYONE ACROSS THE GLOBE WHO SUPPORTED ME DURING THESE LAST FEW WEEKS I CANT BEGIN TO DESCRIBE HOW GRATEFUL I AM FOR ALL OF YOU THIS HAS BEEN A VERY DIFFICULT AND HUMBLING EXPERIENCE I WANT TO THANK THE COURT FOR ALLOWING ME BLADI AND THOTO TO RETURN TO OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL OF THE LOVE AND SUPPORT
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.