A Los Angeles judge ruled on Monday that A$AP Rocky will 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 made the decision after a day and a half of testimony during the preliminary hearing. The hip-hop star, fashion mogul, and Grammy nominee has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm.
During the hearing, Rocky’s attorney attempted to cast doubt on the case, questioning a police detective. The judge emphasized that the preliminary hearing has a lower evidence standard than a trial and that she was finding probable cause, not determining guilt.
Terell Ephron, a childhood friend and former collaborator of Rocky, testified about the deteriorating relationship between them, leading to a confrontation on November 6, 2021. Rocky allegedly pulled a gun on Ephron during the incident, later firing shots that grazed Ephron’s knuckles.
Rocky’s attorney highlighted discrepancies in the evidence, pointing out that officers found no evidence of the shooting at the scene and questioning the recovery of shell casings by Ephron. The defense also questioned the lack of recovery of a 9 mm pistol during the search warrant served on Rocky.
Prosecutors presented videos and images from surveillance footage, asserting that they established Rocky’s involvement in the incident. However, Rocky’s attorney raised questions about the weapon, emphasizing that it was never recovered or tested.
The judge admonished Rocky’s attorney for his tone during the questioning and emphasized the lower standard of proof required for a preliminary hearing.
Rocky, who has a high-profile relationship with Rihanna, was arrested in April at Los Angeles International Airport and charged in August. He has been relatively inactive in releasing music in recent years, gaining more attention for his role as Puma’s creative director and his partnership with F1.
The case has drawn parallels to Rocky’s previous legal troubles, including a 2019 assault case in Sweden. Despite facing challenges, the California courts will proceed with a trial, with the preliminary hearing serving as a miniature version to determine if sufficient evidence exists to move forward.