A Los Angeles judge ruled on Monday that A$AP Rocky will proceed to trial on charges of firing a gun near a Hollywood hotel in 2021. Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar made this determination following a preliminary hearing, during which two witnesses testified. The 35-year-old rapper, fashion mogul, and two-time Grammy nominee is facing two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. Rocky, who has pleaded not guilty, showed no visible reaction to the judge’s decision.
During the preliminary hearing, Terell Ephron, a longtime friend and former collaborator of A$AP Rocky, testified that their relationship had soured, leading to a confrontation in Hollywood on November 6, 2021. According to Ephron, Rocky initially brandished a firearm, and in a subsequent altercation, fired shots that grazed Ephron’s knuckles.
Deputy District Attorney Paul Przelomiec argued that Ephron’s testimony, coupled with surveillance footage of the incident, provided sufficient evidence for trial. Przelomiec stated that the video corroborated Ephron’s account.
In response, Rocky’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, raised concerns about the credibility of the complainant’s testimony and the lack of evidence. He pointed out that seven officers, who arrived at the scene roughly 20 minutes after the alleged shooting, found no evidence of gunfire. Additionally, Tacopina noted that Ephron, not the police, recovered a pair of 9 mm shell casings about an hour later.
Tacopina also highlighted the absence of fingerprints on the shell casings and questioned whether the weapon in question was operable. LAPD Detective Frank Flores acknowledged that the gun had not been tested for operability due to its absence.
The defense attorney further questioned the delay in Ephron seeking medical treatment for his minor hand injury, suggesting that it raised doubts about the severity of the incident. Judge Villar cautioned Tacopina to adjust his tone during questioning.
Rocky, a prominent figure in the fashion and music industry, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in April and charged in August. He arrived at court on Monday dressed in a dark suit, sunglasses, and a face mask.
In recent years, Rocky has focused less on music and more on his relationship with Rihanna, with whom he co-parents two children. He has also served as Puma’s creative director in the brand’s collaboration with Formula One.
Rocky’s legal case gained notoriety when former President Donald Trump sought to secure his release during his imprisonment following a 2019 altercation in Sweden. Although Rocky was found guilty of assault, he received a “conditional sentence” that did not entail additional jail time.