On Monday, a Los Angeles judge determined that there is enough evidence for the hip-hop artist A$AP Rocky to stand trial on charges related to an alleged shooting incident outside a Hollywood hotel in 2021. The ruling came after a day and a half of testimony during a preliminary hearing.
A$AP Rocky, a 35-year-old hip-hop star and fashion mogul, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. The judge, M.L. Villar, stated that the “totality of the video and testimony” presented during the preliminary hearing demonstrated sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial. She emphasized that the standard of evidence in preliminary hearings is lower than that of a trial.
A friend and former collaborator of A$AP Rocky, Terell Ephron, testified during the hearing that their relationship had soured, leading to a confrontation outside the Hollywood hotel on November 6, 2021. Ephron claimed that A$AP Rocky pulled a gun on him during the standoff and later fired shots that grazed his knuckles.
A$AP Rocky’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, argued that no evidence of the shooting was found by officers who searched the scene shortly after the alleged incident. He also questioned the validity of the recovered shell casings and highlighted the absence of a 9 mm pistol when a search warrant was executed on A$AP Rocky.
Tacopina sought to cast doubt on the severity of Ephron’s injury, questioning the delay in seeking medical treatment and suggesting that the scraped fingers were not a result of a life-threatening situation.
The judge intervened at various points, instructing Tacopina to change his tone during the proceedings. A$AP Rocky, who has maintained his innocence, showed no visible reaction in the courtroom.
A$AP Rocky, known for his musical career and fashion influence, is currently in a relationship with Rihanna, with whom he shares two young sons. The case has garnered attention not only for the legal proceedings but also due to A$AP Rocky’s high-profile connections and involvement in previous legal matters, including a well-publicized incident in Sweden in 2019.
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Preliminary hearings in California serve as a precursor to a trial, with a judge determining if there is enough evidence to proceed. The standard of proof at this stage is lower than what is required for a criminal conviction.