A$AP Rocky, the 35-year-old hip-hop star and fashion mogul, is set to stand trial on charges of firing a gun at a former friend and collaborator outside a Hollywood hotel in 2021. Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar ruled on Monday that there is enough evidence for Rocky to face trial, following a preliminary hearing that included a day and a half of testimony.
Rocky, who has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, showed no visible reaction in the courtroom. His attorney, Joe Tacopina, expressed confidence that Rocky would be vindicated when the trial is concluded.
The hearing included testimony from Terell Ephron, who claimed to have been a friend of Rocky since childhood. Ephron alleged that Rocky pulled a gun on him during a confrontation in Hollywood, and later fired shots that grazed Ephron’s knuckles. However, Tacopina questioned the evidence presented, pointing out that police found no evidence of the shooting at the scene and that the shell casings were recovered by Ephron, who returned to the scene after the standoff.
Prosecutors presented videos and images from the scene, including surveillance footage showing a man in a hooded sweatshirt holding what appears to be a gun. LAPD Detective Frank Flores testified that they have established the man in the footage to be Rocky. However, Tacopina pressed the detective on the weapon, suggesting that police had no way of knowing whether it was a loaded or even real gun, as it was never recovered.
Tacopina also questioned the extent of Ephron’s injury, pointing out that he waited to seek medical treatment until he returned to New York. The judge admonished Tacopina for his tone during questioning.
The case has garnered significant attention, not only due to Rocky’s celebrity status but also because of his relationship with Rihanna and their two young sons. Rocky was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in April and charged in connection with the incident.
As the case moves forward to trial, the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing will be subject to further scrutiny. Rocky and his legal team remain confident that he will be vindicated, while prosecutors will continue to build their case against the hip-hop star.