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You should read all of this one, if only to appreciate the full cast of characters. My favorite is “Hassan Muhammad,” who describes himself as a “fixer” in the entertainment industry but appears to have no online presence and wouldn’t tell Yahoo News who his contacts are. Yet somehow he ended up in the middle of an international incident involving Trump and the Swedish criminal justice system.
Because of course he did. We’re talking about a guy in POTUS who hired Michael Cohen as his personal lawyer and partnered with a sleaze merchant like David Pecker at the National Enquirer against his personal enemies. Muhammad would have to be guilty of murder to be too shady for the White House to deal with him.
His role in this case was as a go-between. A$AP Rocky and his managers worried that he’d end up doing time in Sweden for the assault charge he was facing after an altercation with a fan. Muhammad knew Darrell Scott, a pastor and Trump ally, and put Rocky’s team in touch with him in hopes that Trump could pull some strings with the Swedish government on Rocky’s behalf. I’ll see what I can do, Scott told them, but on one condition: If Rocky ends up with no jail time, he has to thank Trump publicly. The whole point of this cause celebre from the White House’s standpoint, after all, was to earn goodwill with black voters. Trump had already championed criminal justice reform and was planning to tout that fact next fall; coming to the aid of a black celebrity in a high-profile dispute with a foreign country would only underscore his commitment to fairer treatment for black suspects. If nothing else, the Rocky matter could be used to blunt attacks that Trump is a racist.
All Rocky needed to do was thank Trump afterward to make sure black voters understood how significant a role the president had played. “If a serial killer gets Rocky out of jail, I would have no problem saying thank you to the serial killer,” Rocky’s manager allegedly told Scott. So Scott dialed up Jared Kushner and set the gears in motion. You know what happened next. Trump dispatched members of the U.S. diplomatic corps to intervene (or try to intervene) in Rocky’s case and went as far as to complain publicly that Sweden refused to grant special treatment to an American prisoner upon the president’s request, above and beyond what anyone expected of him in this matter.
Scott and Lanier believed Damien Granderson, an attorney working for Rocky, was too “nonchalant” about the news that Trump was lobbying on the rapper’s behalf. Lanier said he “snapped” at Granderson and cursed him out.
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