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A$AP Rocky Faces Trial Following Preliminary Hearing in Hollywood Shooting Case

by Venus Sanders

A Los Angeles judge ruled on Monday that A$AP Rocky, the renowned rapper, fashion mogul, and two-time Grammy nominee, will stand trial on charges related to a 2021 shooting incident near a Hollywood hotel.

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Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar made the decision after a day and a half of testimony from two witnesses during the preliminary hearing. A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm.

The charges stem from an incident on November 6, 2021, near a Hollywood hotel, where A$AP Rocky is accused of firing shots at Terell Ephron, a former friend and collaborator. If convicted on all charges, the 35-year-old rapper could face up to 24 years in prison. A$AP Rocky, who is in a relationship with Rihanna and is the father of two young sons, showed no visible reaction to the judge's ruling.

During the preliminary hearing, Terell Ephron testified that he and A$AP Rocky, who had been friends since childhood, were part of the same collective of musicians and artists in their New York high school. Ephron described a deteriorating relationship that led to the Hollywood standoff. He claimed that A$AP Rocky first pulled a gun on him, and in a subsequent confrontation, fired shots that grazed Ephron's knuckles.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Przelomiec argued that Ephron's testimony, combined with surveillance video footage, provided sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial. A$AP Rocky's attorney, Joe Tacopina, countered that there were issues with the complainant's testimony, highlighting what he believed to be a lack of evidence.

Tacopina pointed out during the hearing that a police search conducted about 20 minutes after the alleged shots were fired found no evidence of the shooting. Additionally, he questioned the credibility of the shell casings presented as evidence, suggesting they were recovered by Ephron, who returned to the scene an hour after the incident.

The defense played body camera footage during which officers searched the area for about 10 minutes without finding evidence. Tacopina emphasized that the shell casings presented by the prosecution had no recoverable fingerprints. The defense also raised questions about the authenticity of a 9 mm pistol allegedly used in the incident, as it was never recovered during the police search.

Image Credit: Michael Kovac / Contributor / Getty Images

While prosecutors argued that surveillance video images and Ephron's testimony corroborated the allegations, Tacopina questioned the clarity of the footage and raised doubts about the weapon's operability. He also raised questions about the delay in seeking medical treatment for Ephron's hand injury.

Following the judge's decision, Tacopina expressed that they expected to go to trial and reiterated their confidence in A$AP Rocky's eventual vindication. The judge emphasized that preliminary hearings have a lower evidence standard than trials.

A$AP Rocky, who was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in April, has been charged since August. The rapper has become a notable figure not only in the music industry but also as a fashion influencer and the romantic partner of Rihanna. His trial is expected to provide further insights into the events surrounding the Hollywood shooting case.


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