Sweden’s Justice Minister, Morgan Johansson, has reportedly claimed that former US President Donald Trump threatened a trade war against the European nation in his bid to have A$AP Rocky released from prison.
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The rapper (real name Rakim Mayers) was arrested in Stockholm on June 30, 2019, and spent close to a month imprisoned in the city – he was held in police custody from July 3 to August 2 – before ultimately being found guilty of assault against a 19-year-old man. After a two-week trial, Mayers was handed a “conditional sentence” and ordered to pay damages.
Trump became embroiled in the drama midway through July 2019, when a report claimed that Kanye West and his (now ex-)wife Kim Kardashian lobbied the former President’s administration to secure Mayers’ release. Trump himself then corroborated the report, Tweeting that he “will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky”.
Trump’s intervention in the matter proved controversial, earning the ire of both Mayers’ fellow musicians and the Swedish government, a representative of whom declared that “everyone is equal before the law and the government cannot interfere in legal proceedings”.
In a new interview with Swedish news outlet Dagens Nyheter, Johansson reportedly expounded on the way Trump approached his plea to have Mayers released, saying the country was warned about “trade restrictions” they would face if the rapper was not freed. As The Independent reports, Trump allegedly sought additional support from the European Commission.
“This story demonstrates how important it really is to stand up for our legal principles and not to take our democracy for granted,” Johansson is said to have argued. “If you can try and do something like this against Sweden, what will you then try and do to slightly weaker countries that don’t have the European Union behind them?”
Trump was the first to break the news of Mayers’ eventual release from Swedish prison, though it was reported that he turned against the rapper less than a month later, when Mayers and his manager allegedly didn’t thank Trump and his team for their involvement in his release.