Judge Says A$AP Rocky Must Stand Trial

Hip-hop star allegedly fired a gun at a former friend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 20, 2023 5:05 PM CST
Judge Says A$AP Rocky Must Stand Trial
Rakim Mayers, aka A$AP Rocky, sits with a member of his legal team in the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center for a preliminary hearing in his assault with a semiautomatic firearm case in Los Angeles on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023.   (Allison Dinner/EPA via AP, Pool)

A Los Angeles judge ruled Monday that there is enough evidence for A$AP Rocky to stand trial on charges that he fired a gun at a former friend and collaborator outside a Hollywood hotel in 2021. Superior Court Judge ML Villar made the ruling at at a preliminary hearing, after hearing roughly a day and a half of testimony, the AP reports. Rocky has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. The 35-year-old hip-hop star, fashion mogul, and two-time Grammy nominee is in a relationship with Rihanna, with whom he has two young sons.

Villar said "the totality of the video and testimony" shows there is sufficient evidence for the defendant to go to trial. She emphasized that preliminary hearings have a much lower evidence standard than a trial. Rocky, sitting in the courtroom, showed no visible reaction. "We're not disappointed, not surprised, we expected to go to trial, we've been planning for trial all along," Rocky's attorney, Joe Tacopina, said outside court. "Rocky is going to be vindicated when all this is said and done, without question." At the first day of the hearing, which resumed Monday after a long delay, Terell Ephron testified that he and Rocky, a friend since childhood, had belonged to the same collective of musicians and artists at their New York high school.

He said their relationship had started to go sour and resulted in the standoff in Hollywood on Nov. 6, 2021, when he said Rocky first pulled a gun on him, and in a later confrontation fired shots that grazed Ephron's knuckles. Tacopina established while questioning a police detective that seven officers who searched a sidewalk and street about 20 minutes after the shots were allegedly fired found no evidence of the shooting, and that a pair of 9mm shell casings in police possession were recovered by Ephron, who returned to the scene about an hour after the standoff. Prosecutors showed what they said was video of Rocky holding a gun during an altercation with Ephron, TMZ reports.

(More A$AP Rocky stories.)

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