July 30 (UPI) -- American rapper A$AP Rocky pleaded not guilty to assault Tuesday, telling a Swedish court he was acting in self defense in a street fight.
A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested on aggravated assault charges July 3 after his performance at the Smash hip-hop festival. He was later charged with assault causing bodily harm. A Stockholm District Court ordered the rapper to be jailed while the case was investigated.
Surveillance footage from a fast-food restaurant shows the lead-up to the fight. A video posted to Mayers' Instagram shows his entourage being harassed. Mayers repeatedly tells a 19-year-old to stop following him. They appeared to argue over a pair of headphones.
"He admits that he threw the plaintiff on the ground, that he stepped on his arm and punched or pushed his shoulder," Mayers' lawyer Slobodan Jovcic said, adding that the actions were in self-defense.
Prosecutor Daniel Suneson showed evidence that the video posted by Mayers from his entourage's cellphones had been doctored. He also showed text conversations among the artist's crew stating that the video had been "cleaned up a bit" to remove instances where the bodyguard grabbed and pushed the plaintiff.
Three other people were also arrested. The bodyguard was later released.
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert C. O'Brien was in the courtroom, as was Mayers' mother, Renee Black. She told the Swedish newspaper Expressen that her son was being "made an example of" and that he hasn't been fed properly.
U.S. President Donald Trump reached out to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to no avail, even offering to pay Mayers' bail.
"Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Lofven for being unable to act," Trump tweeted. "Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly! #FreeRocky."
A representative for Lofven said "everyone is equal before the law."
Mayers was on a European tour and had to cancel a dozen shows after the arrest. Fans, fellow rappers and several U.S. Congress members have also campaigned for him to be released.
An online petition with the hashtag #JusticeforRocky received 630,000 signatures, while some are calling for a boycott of IKEA and other Swedish companies.