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A$AP Rocky Pleads Not Guilty to Gun Charges Ahead of Trial

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UPDATE: A$AP Rocky has entered another plea.

Nearly two months after a Los Angeles judge ruled that the musician must stand trial on charges in connection to the shooting, he pled not guilty to both counts while in court Jan. 8, NBC News has confirmed. His next hearing is scheduled for March 6.

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A Los Angeles judge ruled on Nov. 20 that the rapper (real name Rakim Mayers) must stand trial on charges that he fired shots at a friend during a 2021 incident in Hollywood, according to NBC News. Rocky—who shares kids RZA, 19 months, and Riot, 2 months, with Rihanna—has pled not guilty to two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm.

The judge determined “the totality of the video and testimony” showed enough evidence for the case to head to trial.

“We’re not disappointed, not surprised, we expected to go to trial, we’ve been planning for trial all along,” Rocky’s attorney Joe Tacopina told reporters outside court, per NBC News. “Rocky is going to be vindicated when all this is said and done, without question.”

During the preliminary hearing, Rocky’s childhood friend A$AP Relli (real name Terell Ephron) testified that the pair had an altercation on Nov. 6, 2021.

Rocky, 35, allegedly pointed a gun at him “during a heated discussion,” per a Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office press release obtained by E! News in August 2022. Then, in what prosecutors called a “subsequent confrontation,” the “Praise the Lord” singer drew the gun and allegedly fired two shots toward Relli.

“Unbeknownst to Mr. Ephron, A$AP Rocky was not just planning for a conversation and came armed with a semi-automatic handgun,” Relli’s attorneys Jamal Tooson and Brian Hurwitz said in a statement to Rolling Stone last year. “After arriving at the location, a conversation ensued whereby without provocation, warning, or any justification, A$AP Rocky produced the handgun and intentionally fired multiple shots at Mr. Ephron.”

Relli’s counsel alleged that he received minor injuries to his left hand.

Allison Dinner-Pool/Getty Images

A police detective said in court during the hearing that seven officers searched the area for 20 minutes after the alleged crime, but discovered no evidence of a shooting, according to NBC News. Relli was the one to hand over the shell casings, which the detective said had no recoverable fingerprints on them.

Rocky was arrested over the incident while at LAX in April 2022 and released on $550,000 bail. Four months later, he was officially charged with two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. 

(E! and NBC News are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Monday, November 20, 2023 at 5:15 PM PT.

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