ASAP Rocky will face trial in January after being accused of firing a semiautomatic handgun at former friend ASAP Relli.
During a preliminary hearing in Los Angeles on Monday, November 20, Judge M.L. Villar determined that there is sufficient evidence for Rocky, 35, to stand trial. Prosecutors said the rapper (born Rakim Mayers) pointed and fired a handgun at Relli (whose real name is Terell Ephron) two years ago. A trial date is set for January 8, 2024.
Rocky is facing two felony counts of assault with a firearm and could receive up to nine years in prison if found guilty. After pleading not guilty in August 2022, Rocky maintained his innocence again during the hearing on Monday.
“I am certain Rocky will be vindicated of all of this,” his attorney Joe Tacopina told reporters outside of the courthouse.
Rocky was initially taken into custody in April 2022 at an airport as he was flying back to the U.S. after a vacation in Barbados with girlfriend Rihanna, with whom he shares two kids.
“The suspect has been identified as 33-year-old Rakim Mayers, a Los Angeles resident, better known as music artist ASAP Rocky,” read a statement via X (formerly Twitter) from the Los Angeles Police Department after the airport arrest.
The LAPD said at the time that Rocky allegedly got into an altercation with an “acquaintance” in November 2021. A handgun was fired by the suspect during an argument, harming the victim. Authorities noted that Rocky and two other men reportedly left the scene while the victim sustained a minor injury.
Rocky was released on $550,000 bail several hours after his arrest. In August 2022, he appeared in court, and Relli filed a separate civil suit against him for assault, battery and emotional distress.
Relli claimed Rocky lured him to an obscure locale “to discuss a disagreement between the two of them,” Relli’s attorneys Jamal Tooson and Brian Hurwitz told Rolling Stone in August. “Unbeknownst to Mr. Ephron, ASAP Rocky was not just planning for a conversation and came armed with a semiautomatic handgun.”
The lawyers continued: “After arriving at the location, a conversation ensued whereby without provocation, warning or any justification, ASAP Rocky produced the handgun and intentionally fired multiple shots at Mr. Ephron.”
Relli went on to allege that he has received death threats and his career has been damaged since the incident.
Rocky’s attorneys denied Relli’s version of events in a statement. “Defendant generally denies each and every allegation of the complaint, and specifically denies that Plaintiff has been damaged in any amount or in any way as a result of any act or omission of answering defendant,” the lawyers wrote. “The injuries and/or damages complained of in the complaint, if any, were caused solely, directly and proximately by the negligent and/or intentional acts or omissions of person other than answering defendant.”