FILE - A$AP Rocky performs "I'm Not the Only One" with Sam Smith, not pictured, during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, Nov. 23, 2014.
FILE - A$AP Rocky performs "I'm Not the Only One" with Sam Smith, not pictured, during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, Nov. 23, 2014.

Updated Aug. 1, 2019, 1:48 p.m.

American rapper A$AP Rocky has testified in a Swedish courtroom he tried to avoid a confrontation as he faces charges of assault stemming from an altercation on the streets of Stockholm.

 

Rocky said at his trial he and his team continually attempted to separate themselves from Mustafa Jafari and his friend, who continued to follow them.

 

The rapper claims that he had tried to defuse the encounter before things turned violent.

 

"We pleaded and we begged and we said, 'Look man, we don't want to fight y'all. We don't want any more problems. We don't want to go to jail. We don't want to fight y'all. Please stop following us,'" he told the court.

 

Rocky, whose birth name is Rakim Mayers, also told the court that he feared the men were under the influence of narcotics.

 

"I couldn't help but assume that these guys were affected by some kind of drug," Rocky said.

 

The 30-year-old Rocky was arrested on July 3 for allegedly assaulting the 19-year-old Jafari.  Rocky's bodyguard has been released from jail, but Rocky and two other men remain in custody. 

 

Earlier this week, Rocky pleaded not guilty to assault charges.

 

Rocky told the court that he only got involved in the altercation when he witnessed Jafari attack his bodyguard.

 

During his testimony, Rocky also asserted that he and members of his team picked up bottles from the street to ensure that Jafari and the man with him would not get a hold of them.

 

Rocky maintains that he did not strike Jafari with the bottles.

 

The prosecution has sought to paint a different story.  It alleges that Rocky had struck Jafari with a bottle, and kicked and punched the man beyond the level of self-defense that Rocky claims..

 

Mayers' case has grabbed international attention, with U.S. President Donald Trump voicing support for the rapper.

 

"Give A$AP Rocky his FREEDOM. We do so much for Sweden but it doesn't seem to work the other way around. Sweden should focus on its real crime problem! #FreeRocky," the president tweeted last week, the latest in a string of multiple tweets about the rapper's arrest.

 

The president also took diplomatic action.

 

Robert O'Brien, the U.S. special envoy for hostage affairs, has been in the courtroom during Rocky's trial.

 

“The president asked me to come here and support these American citizens,” O'Brien told The New York Times. “I'll be here until they come home.”

 

The trial continues on Friday. Mayers faces up to two years in prison if found guilty.