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Amid Growing Demands For Rapper's Release, Trump Vouches For A$AP Rocky

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The American rapper A$AP Rocky turned himself in to Swedish authorities almost three weeks ago. He remains in custody and is being investigated for alleged aggravated assault following a fight. His case has commanded the attention of Kanye West and Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian and now the president of the United States, who are all encouraging his release. President Trump confirmed over the weekend that he's spoken with Sweden's prime minister and that he would personally vouch for the rapper's bail.

Rolling Stone writer Charles Holmes has been covering this story. He's in New York. Good morning.

CHARLES HOLMES: Good morning. How are you doing?

INSKEEP: OK. What are the facts of the assault, so far as they're known?

HOLMES: So this all started - the altercation - on June 30. TMZ on July 1 released a video that didn't look good. A man that looked like A$AP Rocky looked like he had thrown a man. But the next day, A$AP Rocky went to his Instagram, and he posted two videos that showed more of the story. In one of the captions, it read, so a few drug addicts are not my fans. We don't know these guys, and we didn't want trouble. They followed us for four blocks, and they were slapping girls' butts who passed.

And throughout the video, you could see Rocky, his security guard and his friends trying to diffuse the situation and trying to say, can you please turn around? We don't want any problems, things like that. And it was not a great video to watch just to see kind of the predicament that Rocky was in.

INSKEEP: OK. So a reminder that different angles of the same scene can seem to provide different truths. But what are the Swedish authorities saying? They presumably have access to all the videos and other evidence, and they want the man in custody.

HOLMES: Yeah. So far, the Swedish police officers, everybody investigating it really haven't said much about the case. They're still investigating it. Actually, on Friday, prosecutors had asked for an extension for the pretrial detention to investigate further what had actually happened throughout this whole process.

INSKEEP: OK. So it's a pretrial detention here, which normally you would have an opportunity at bail, unless you're considered a flight risk. That's the way it would be in the United States. I'm sure it's not too different in Sweden. What is his circumstance? What is he trying to do, and where is he being held right now?

HOLMES: I can't speak to too much of it. But right now, what we know is that they launched a petition that, when I checked this morning, had over 600,000 signings for it. His team and multiple celebrities - Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Kanye, all of these people - are really fighting for him.

And one of the interesting things that another rapper by the name of G-Eazy said was that he actually had run into problems in Sweden. And he went to Twitter to point out that he was treated differently. For those who don't know, G-Eazy is a white rapper. So he was saying that - basically, on Twitter, that this is a problem because the way he was treated when he was arrested was a little bit different.

INSKEEP: Just to understand the seriousness of this alleged assault, was anyone seriously hurt?

HOLMES: From right now, what I know, no, I don't think anybody is seriously hurt from everything that I've read and the research that I've done.

INSKEEP: OK. Mr. Holmes, thanks for the update. I really appreciate it.

HOLMES: Yeah, thank you.

INSKEEP: Charles Holmes is a staff writer for Rolling Stone. He's giving us an update on the rapper A$AP Rocky, who turned himself into Swedish authorities but now has a supporter in the president of the United States.

(SOUNDBITE OF YPPAH'S "OCCASIONAL MAGIC") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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