A$AP Rocky to face trial for firing gun at childhood friend

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A Los Angeles judge has ruled that rapper A$AP Rocky will face trial on charges of firing a pistol during a dispute with a former childhood friend.

The ruling was delivered on Monday during the second day of a preliminary hearing, with A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, in attendance.

Prosecutors allege that the 35-year-old Mr. Mayers pointed and discharged a handgun at Terell Ephron two years ago, resulting in minor injuries.

Mr. Mayers, a Grammy-nominated artist with two children with singer Rihanna, has entered a plea of not guilty.

He faces two felony counts of assault with a firearm and could potentially receive a maximum prison sentence of nine years if convicted.

Mr. Ephron, a member of the A$AP Mob hip-hop collective who has known A$AP Rocky since their time together at a New York high school, has separately filed a lawsuit alleging assault and battery, negligence, and emotional distress.

Known as A$AP Relli, Mr. Ephron claims that Mr. Mayers “lured” him to a secluded location outside the W Hotel in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on November 6, 2021, under the pretext of discussing a disagreement.

CCTV footage of the alleged assault, played in court earlier this month, purportedly shows Mr. Mayers brandishing and firing a gun, as testified by an LA detective. However, Mr. Mayers’s legal team denies that their client is the individual seen in the video.

Superior Court Judge ML Villar was tasked with determining whether there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed, not establishing whether a crime had occurred. The burden of proof for preliminary hearings like these is notably lower.

Mr. Ephron is also suing Mr. Mayers, claiming that after a verbal altercation Mr. Mayers “pulled out a handgun and purposefully pointed it in the direction of [Mr. Ephron] and fired multiple shots”.

Mr Ephron was “struck by bullet projectile/fragments” in his left hand and required medical attention, according to the court papers. He is seeking at least $25,000 (£20,000) in damages.

During a court hearing in August 2022, the judge mandated that Mr. Mayers maintain a distance of 100 yards (300ft) from Mr. Ephron at all times.

Previously, Mr. Mayers received a two-year suspended sentence for his involvement in a brawl in Stockholm, Sweden, in August 2019.

In the Los Angeles case, he is being represented by lawyer Joe Tacopina, who is also handling the legal matters of former President Donald Trump in his New York civil fraud trial.

Recognized as A$AP Rocky, he emerged as one of the standout stars of the 2010s, achieving eight platinum singles in the US, including “Wild For The Night,” “Everyday,” “LSD,” and “A$AP Forever.”

He rose to fame after being championed by Drake, and has worked with artists including Alicia Keys, Lana Del Rey, Skepta, Selena Gomez, and Kendrick Lamar.