A$AP Rocky, born Rakim Mayers, is set to face trial in January after a Monday preliminary hearing in Los Angeles. The rapper, accused of firing a semi-automatic handgun at former friend A$AP Relli during a heated argument, pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault with a firearm in August 2022.
Judge M.L. Villar ruled that there was enough evidence for the trial to proceed, with Rocky’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, expressing confidence outside the courthouse, stating, “I am certain Rocky will be vindicated of all of this.”
During the hearing, Detective Frank Flores testified, and new surveillance footage was presented, featuring two loud pops believed to be the alleged shooting. However, the video did not capture the incident visually. Flores confirmed that Rocky had a gun during the altercation, though the weapon was not recovered. The two shell casings turned in by Relli had no fingerprints.
The trial for the “Praise the Lord” rapper is scheduled to commence on January 8.
At a previous hearing, photos of minor injuries to Relli’s knuckles were displayed in court. Relli, whose real name is Terell Ephron, filed a civil suit against Rocky on August 10, 2022, alleging assault, battery, and emotional distress.
Rocky, who shares two children with pop superstar Rihanna, vehemently denies all claims. In his response to the civil complaint, Rocky’s attorneys stated that he denies each allegation and asserts that any damages were caused by the actions of someone other than him.
The tension between Rocky and Relli reportedly escalated after the death of their friend A$AP Josh in October 2021. Relli claimed that Rocky promised financial assistance for Josh’s burial but later overheard Rocky badmouthing him. This, coupled with their growing rift, led Relli to end their friendship.
During the altercation, Relli alleged that Rocky brandished a gun, pointing it at him and threatening, “I’ll kill you right now.” Relli challenged Rocky to shoot, expressing anger and disbelief. Surveillance footage showed an altercation on Hollywood Boulevard, culminating in Rocky allegedly firing shots. Relli, approximately 16 feet away, claimed he used A$AP Illz as a human shield.
Relli, who admitted to delaying calling 911 to consult a lawyer, later filed a civil suit seeking damages for emotional distress and medical bills. Rocky was arrested in April 2022 at Los Angeles International Airport and released on bail the same day. The rapper was returning from a vacation in Barbados with Rihanna, who was not present in court during Wednesday’s proceedings.
As the trial approaches, the legal battle between A$AP Rocky and A$AP Relli continues, with both sides presenting their version of events in a case that has garnered significant attention.