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A$AP Rocky in Sweden: Jafari Doesn't Remember
The trial of A$AP Rocky gets off to a flying start.
ABSURDISTAN (Rixstep) — He doesn't remember, and he gets laughed at in court - not A$AP Rocky, but the Afghani Mustafa Jafari who filed the complaint against him, causing Rocky and Friends to be locked up in Kronobergshäktet for a month, missing at least one dozen gigs which would have netted them millions. And, as the day wore on, it became increasingly mystifying how any justice system - even Sweden's - could make a case out of this farce.
After the usual introductions, Jafari's legal aide asked to show the court a film which he said would prove that Rocky's nickname was 'Harlem', but the court didn't want that, as the defence had already stated that 'Harlem' used to be one of Rocky's nicknames when he was 16 years of age. Rocky denied that name being used now in reference to him.
Mustafa Jafari, the Afghani who filed the complaint against Rocky, was then put under cross-examination. Jafari used two Persian interpreters, despite his having lived in Sweden for four and one half years. (Fluency in Swedish is normally achieved in six months with free full-time courses given to all new arrivals.)
What were they doing there?
Max is a hamburger restaurant chain in Sweden, second biggest today to McDonald's. This particular outlet seems to have been across the street from Konserthuset where the Nobel Prizes are awarded each year. The first question asked of Jafari was what exactly he'd been doing in the area, where he'd arrived approximately half an hour before accosting Rocky. Jafari said he was there to pick up his passport.
(Having taken considerable time to research this matter, by ringing to several major restaurant chains and even the Guide Michelin-awarded Opera Källaren, our people can categorically state that no restaurant admitted to distributing Swedish passports, or passports from any other country.)
But Jafari insisted there was nothing strange in 'hanging out' in that area, as he often did, with his friends.
(The area is normally safe, or used to be safe, although the square in front of Konserthuset was once the scene of a bloody mob war, and one of the city's major narcotics outlets used to be around the corner. The street, Kungsgatan, becomes, after its intersection with Sveavägen a few metres away, the capital city's 'cinema district', with all the big theatres, such as Rigoletto and Saga.)
Another question was about something Jafari had previously claimed: namely that he, after the brawl that later ensued, had gone back to the area in search of Rocky, something the attorneys found very strange.
The defence attorneys tried to introduce Jafari's criminal record. (Rocky has no record at all.) The judge told them that Jafari's criminal past was not admissible, and reminded them again when they mentioned that Jafari had been previously convicted of using a knife in an altercation.
The defence attorneys discussed this with the judge, who promised to get back to them in the matter.
Where's my friend?
Jafari had testified in interrogation that the reason he first approached Rocky was that he wanted to ask these complete strangers if they'd seen where his friend got off to. The defence now showed the court a video clip of the moment Jafari first approached Rocky - with his 'lost' friend standing right beside him. Courtroom laughter ensued.
Jafari tried to squirm out of it, claiming that could have been the 'second time' he'd lost his friend. But even this hasty attempt at a comeback didn't wash well, as further video footage showed Jafari wandering about, in and out of camera, at only short intervals, always together with his 'friend'.
Jafari Doesn't Remember
After this, Jafari's memory seems to get worse and worse. He says he can't really remember when and where he asked about his friend, or how he could have lost him so quickly.
Jafari quite simply can't explain anything. And when the defence asked him why, if his friend was indeed missing, he didn't simply ring him?
Jafari's answer - used many times on this day - was: 'I don't remember'.
So why did Jafari again approach Rocky? Jafari says he doesn't remember that either - he says only that he was 'surprised'. What do you mean you were 'surprised', the defence asks, and they also ask why Jafari should continually approach Rocky's group when he hasn't been able to communicate with them a single time.
The defence moved on to the headphones. As can be seen in the videos Rocky's posted online, Jafari keeps going on about his headphones which, as can be seen, were dropped after Jafari physically attacked Rocky's bodyguard. Jafari's told the police during interrogation that Rocky's bodyguard had crushed them and tossed them away, something that's not at all corroborated by the videos. And now, in the courtroom, Jafari changes his story, now saying this happened after the bodyguard tried to subdue him.
The defence commented that this was obviously a made-up construction, and that Jafari changed his story after seeing all the video footage available.
But Jafari's response to the court? Get ready.
'Oh stop poking at trivialities.'
This is a question of honour, claims Jafari. And that is why he kept following Rocky after the bodyguard had done all he could to stop Jafari from stalking them. Honour. 'I wanted to uphold my honour', Jafari told the court.
Jafari tells the court that he has been 'offended'.
Next was the matter of the bottles. Jafari told the police that one or more bottles had been used to attack him. But after the defence could show that no bottles are visible when Jafari is finally tossed to the ground, and that there is no sign of blood at the scene of the altercation, Jafari changes his story again. Now he says - he doesn't remember! And adds that the bottles could have been used at a later time (although no one is aware of any such 'later time').
The defence again tries to introduce the fact that Jafari's criminal record has a conviction for a 'knife crime', but the judge again stops this line of questioning, with the reasoning that the fact doesn't influence the case, as neither Rocky nor his friends knew of Jafari's conviction and could thereby not be in fear of someone using a knife - something Rocky would later vehemently disagree with. The defence insisted, as the brief disappearance of Jafari's friend may have been an attempt to get rid of weapons they were carrying.
Rocky takes the stand
Rocky took the stand after lunch. He starts by giving his version of the events, the most crucial thing being that he and his group all found the Afghanis dangerous, threatening, under the influence of narcotics, and very likely in possession of weapons. Things were aggravated by virtue of the fact that - as seen over and over again in the videos - Jafari keeps stalking them.
The reason Rocky had a bottle in his left hand? He didn't want the Afghanis to pick them up and use them in an attack. They were later to get rid of the bottles when they no longer thought the Afghanis would catch up with them again.
And so it's when Rocky and Friends get away from the Afghanis again that the Afghanis catch up with them again and start punching the bodyguard. At this point, Rocky grabbed onto Jafari and hurled him to the ground. Why hit him when he's down, Rocky was asked. To neutralise him, Rocky said.
Why hide the bottle, the attorney asked Rocky. We didn't want to escalate matters even more, Rocky replied.
Remembrance of attacks past
Rocky also testified that he was recently stabbed in the face by an unknown assailant, as had happened to him a few years back, inadvertently or not strengthening the case for 'putative self defence'.
Rocky's two friends were also questioned, their testimony being congruent with Rocky's.
After today, it should be even more obvious than before that there was never any reason to pursue the case. How could the Swedish prosecutor have put together a case with a primary witness that was so inconsistent, more or less lying his socks off, and in such a clumsy fashion?
More: how could this self-same prosecution office drop the complaint against Jafari?
The trial of A$AP Rocky resumes tomorrow, the world around scratching its collective head.
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