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A$AP Rocky’s ‘Assault with a Firearm’ Case Will Likely Go To Trial Next Year

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón's office filed charges against the rapper in August 2022 for allegedly shooting A$AP Relli, a high school friend and collaborator, during a “heated” confrontation in Hollywood in 2021.

1:35 PM PST on November 21, 2023

Photo by pool photographer Allison Dinner.

On Monday, an L.A. County judge ruled that prosecutors have enough evidence to charge rapper A$AP Rocky with two counts of assault with a firearm. 

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón's office filed charges against the rapper in August 2022 for allegedly shooting A$AP Relli, a high school friend and collaborator, during a “heated” confrontation in Hollywood in 2021.

Rocky was arrested on 4/20 last year at LAX airport, moments after stepping off a private jet arriving from Barbados, the home country of his girlfriend, Rihanna.

A month later, LAPD officers used a battering ram while executing a search warrant on the rapper's Los Angeles home, evoking memories of Toddy Tee's 1985 single ‘Batterram,’ one of the west coast’s earliest hip-hop anthems.

On Monday, L.A. County prosecutors presented video evidence during a preliminary hearing. A judge determined the video showed Rocky brandishing a gun during what appeared to be a heated argument between Rocky and Relli.

Additional video evidence, however, did not appear to capture an actual shooting, just the sound of two gunshots.

M.L. Villar, the L.A. County superior court judge overseeing the case, said in court that “there is sufficient evidence to find the charges crimes (sic) were committed and more than sufficient cause to believe that [Rocky] is guilty of having committed as charged,” Legal Affairs and Trials reporter Megahnn Cuniff reported. 

In the state of California, a preliminary hearing is the first step to determine if a criminal court case will go to trial. Judge Villar explained during Monday's hearing that the burden of proof for a preliminary hearing is much lower than a trial.

Joe Tacopina, Rocky’s lead lawyer, told reporters on Monday that his client will not be taking a plea deal and that he is confident that Rocky will be found not guilty after a trial. Rocky is expected to enter a plea of not guilty during an upcoming hearing in early January.

“There’s some evidence that’s going to be insurmountable,” Tacopina told reporters. “The witness is not going to be able to withstand cross-examination in front of the jury. We have a lot of evidence that’s going to be unveiled at trial. Not here.” 

In addition to representing Rocky, Tacopina is also part of former President Donald Trump’s legal team.

A$AP Rocky is a rap music and fashion icon who shares two children with mega-star Rihanna.

Prosecutors announced charges against Rocky in August 2022. He’s remained free since he was arrested and released on bond last year.

Up until recently, the case has received very little attention for nearly two years, so much so that some of Rocky’s fans might not have been aware that the rapper is facing serious criminal charges that could land him in prison for nearly a decade if convicted. 

Rocky’s career has shown no signs of slowing down in the meantime.

Since the alleged shooting occurred in 2021, Rocky’ launched a Canadian whiskey brand called Mercer + Prince. Earlier this year, he became one of the new faces of the fashion brand Gucci. And earlier this month, he made headlines for making an appearance at an F1 popup in Vegas with Rihanna.

Continue to follow L.A. TACO for more updates on this case.

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