The rapper known as A$AP Rocky was convicted this week of assault based upon eyewitness testimony and video evidence showing him and two bodyguards beating a young man in Sweden on June 30.
One would like to think, given the evidence in the case, that the same result would have occurred in the United State. But that does not seem likely.
President Donald Trump was all too willing to interfere in the course of justice in Sweden when asked to do so by First Lady Melania Trump and celebrities Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.
Trump asked Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to free Rocky, who was being held in pretrial detention because he was deemed a flight risk. Much to his credit, Prime Minister Löfven said no.
Löfven said it was not his place to sway prosecutors or the courts. “I will explain that the Swedish judicial system is independent,” Löfven said. “In Sweden, everyone is equal before the law, and this includes visitors from other countries.”
To ramp up the pressure, Trump sent his top hostage negotiator, Robert C. O’Brien, to Sweden to observe Rocky’s trial. CNN released a leaked letter, dated July 31 from O’Brien to the Swedish Prosecution Authority warning Swedish prosecutors to resolve the case as soon as possible to avoid “negative consequences to the US-Swedish bilateral relationship.”
Many of us would like to think the U.S. system of justice, like Sweden’s, also is independent and that everyone in the United States is equal under the law. But this belief is increasingly wishful thinking.