A$AP Rocky is going to trial for assault and is facing up to nine years in prison if he’s found guilty. The famous rapper, 35, has been accused of firing a handgun at former friend and collaborator A$AP Relli outside a Hollywood hotel back in 2021, according to PEOPLE. While Rocky has maintained his innocence, a judge decided on November 20, 2023 that there is enough evidence for the case to move forward. A trial date has been set for January 2024 and Rocky’s future hangs in the balance.
Here is everything you need to know about Rocky’s assault case.
What Did A$AP Rocky Allegedly Do?
On November 6, 2021, Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers) allegedly got into a “heated discussion” with Relli (real name Terell Ephron), a childhood friend, outside the W Hotel in West Hollywood, California. Rihanna‘s boyfriend allegedly pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and fired it at Relli, before fleeing the scene.
“He grabbed me on my collar. He was shaking me. I tried to push him off, get his hands off,” Relli recalled in the courtroom on November 20, 2023, per PEOPLE. “That’s when [Rocky] pulled a gun from his waistband. It was a standard clip and a semi-automatic black gun. He pointed it toward my stomach.” Relli alleged that Rocky told him, “I’ll kill you right now,” before he allegedly shot him from 16 feet away.
Relli claimed he suffered minor injures that he showed photos of in the courtroom on November 20. He said an hour after the shooting, he returned to the scene to retrieve two 9mm shell casings. Relli explained in court that he waited two days to call 911 to report the incident, which was reportedly caught on nearby surveillance cameras.
What Is A$AP Rocky Being Charged With?
Over five months after the shooting, Rocky was arrested at Angeles International Airport on April 20, 2022, but was released on $550,000 bail just hours later. At the time, Rocky was coming home from Barbados where he was on vacation with Rihanna, with whom he now shares two children.
Rocky was officially charged with two counts of assault with a firearm on August 15, 2022. Two days later, the “Praise the Lord” rapper pled not guilty to the charges in a Los Angeles court. Relli reportedly filed a separate civil lawsuit against Rocky for assault, battery, and emotional distress, according to PEOPLE. Relli is seeking $25,000 in damages and additional damages to cover his medical bills.
“Defendant [Rocky] purposefully or with reckless disregard unlawfully brandished a firearm towards the plaintiff [Relli],” the complaint from Relli’s lawyer filed reportedly states. “Further, defendant purposefully or with reckless disregard caused a bullet projectile/fragment to hit the plaintiff. In both instances, defendant’s conduct was unlawful or otherwise extreme and outrageous.”
Rocky faces up to nine years in prison if he’s found guilty of the charges.
When Does A$AP Rocky’s Trial Begin?
Rocky’s trial is set to begin on January 8, 2024, Judge M.L. Villar announced at a preliminary hearing in LA on November 20, 2023. There were a day and a half of testimonies from Rocky and Relli’s legal teams before the judge made his decision. Villar explained in court that the “the totality of the video and testimony” showed there’s enough evidence for the case to move to trial, CBS News reported.
What Has A$AP Rocky Said About the Case?
Rocky has professed his innocence through his legal team in the ongoing assault case.
“We’re not disappointed, not surprised, we expected to go to trial, we’ve been planning for trial all along,” Rocky’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, said outside the court on November 20, according to ABC News. “Rocky is going to be vindicated when all this is said and done, without question.”
While doing press outside the court room, Tacopina was also asked if Rocky will have Rihanna show up to his trial. “He would never subject his family, he wants to shield them, he’s handling it like Rocky would handle something, he protects his family,” Tacopina said.