On Monday, A$AP Rocky may receive a decision on whether he will proceed to trial over accusations of firing a gun at a former friend and collaborator outside a Hollywood hotel.
In a Los Angeles courtroom, a judge will review evidence against the 35-year-old rap artist, known for his two children with Rihanna, to determine if he should face trial on two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. A plea of not guilty has been entered.
According to prosecutors, the incident occurred on November 6, 2021, outside the W. Hotel in Hollywood, where Rocky allegedly pointed a handgun at Terell Ephron. Subsequently, shots were fired, grazing Ephron’s knuckles and causing minor injuries. Rocky contends his innocence.
During the initial hearing earlier this month, Ephron, formerly known as A$AP Relli, testified about the deterioration of his friendship with Rocky. They were close friends during their teenage years and part of the A$AP collective, a group of New York high school students aspiring to create music and pursue various art forms. Ephron claimed their friendship soured when Rocky failed to fulfill promised business ventures and neglected other members of their high school collective who were facing challenging circumstances.
Prosecutors presented surveillance footage capturing part of the incident, suggesting Rocky brandishing and potentially firing a gun, although his legal team disputes these claims.
Rocky, a two-time Grammy nominee, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in April and charged in August. He attended the November 8 hearing, as is customary in felony cases, and is expected to be present in court on Monday.
In recent years, Rocky’s musical output has diminished, and he has gained recognition as the romantic partner, fashion influencer, and co-parent of Rihanna, with whom he welcomed a second son in May.
Notably, Rocky received support from former President Donald Trump during his 2019 incarceration in Sweden. Now, he is represented by Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina in the Los Angeles case. Tacopina, who also represented the ex-president in his New York criminal case, engaged in a contentious cross-examination of Ephron during the November 8 testimony, suggesting the possibility of fabrication for financial gain due to a civil lawsuit filed by Ephron.
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California preliminary hearings function as a condensed version of a trial, with a judge determining whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed. The standard of proof is lower than that required for criminal guilt. Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar may announce a decision on moving forward to trial on Monday, though the process may take longer, depending on testimony and legal arguments.