Right at the start of his trial, which kicked off on Monday, Jan. 8, A$AP Rocky quickly pleaded not guilty to assault charges.
As previously reported, the rapper (real name Rakim Mayers) was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department in 2022 for being allegedly part of an altercation with one of his “acquaintances” in Hollywood in Nov. 2021. He supposedly shot a gun and injured the alleged victim. Not long after being released on bail, A$AP Rocky was named in a civil lawsuit for charges of assault, battery, and emotional stress.
At a Nov. 2023 preliminary hearing, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar said there was sufficient evidence to have a trial. Deadline reports that A$AP Rocky is charged with two counts of assault with a semiautomatic weapon. As part of the charges, there were allegations that the rapper used a firearm against Terell Ephron.
While testifying at the hearing, Ephron stated he saw A$AP Rocky outside a parking garage during the encounter. The event was also partially caught on surveillance cameras. At one point, the rapper allegedly pulled out a gun from his waistband, pointed it at Ephron, and declared, “I’ll kill you right now.”
During the same hearing, the rapper’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, encouraged the judge to dismiss the case due to lack of evidence. At the start of the trial, Tacopina reportedly stated that his client would be “vindicated.”
“I want to get this done and over so he can start enjoying his family and move on,” Tacopina also said. “We’re going to be quiet and we’re going to try this [case] in a courtroom, and when we do, facts will come out that show that [A$AP Rocky is] truly innocent and he’s a victim in this case.”
A$AP Rocky Was Previously Found Guilty of Assault in Sweden
This isn’t the first time A$AP Rocky has had issues with the law. In 2018, the rapper was found guilty in Sweden after a street brawl. He was handed a suspended sentence by a court at the time. As punishment, prosecutors recommended a six-month jail sentence for the rapper for his role in the brawl.
Deadline reported at the time that A$AP Rocky’s sentence became an international incident. Then President Donald Trump notably lobbied on behalf of the musician by declaring support in a tweet. “A$AP Rocky [was] released from prison and on his way home to the United States from Sweden. It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!” the former politician stated.
Along with A$AP Rocky, two members of the rapper’s group were also found guilty of participating in the brawl. Before the brawl, the rapper had been in jail.