Rapper A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, is set to face trial on charges of firing a pistol in a dispute with a former childhood friend, as ruled by a Los Angeles judge on Monday.
The decision followed the second day of a preliminary hearing attended by Mayers.
Prosecutors assert that the 35-year-old Mayers pointed and discharged a handgun at Terell Ephron two years ago, resulting in minor injuries.
Mayers, who has pleaded not guilty and has two children with singer Rihanna, is charged with two felony counts of assault with a firearm. If convicted, he could face up to nine years in prison.
Terell Ephron, also known as A$AP Relli and a member of the A$AP Mob hip-hop collective, alleges in a separate lawsuit that he is a victim of assault and battery, negligence, and emotional distress.
Ephron claims that Mayers lured him to a secluded location outside the W Hotel in Hollywood to discuss a disagreement.
CCTV footage presented in court allegedly shows Mayers brandishing and firing a gun, as testified by an LA detective. Mayers’s legal team disputes that their client is the individual seen in the video.
During the preliminary hearing, Superior Court Judge ML Villar determined whether there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial, not whether a crime had been committed.
Preliminary hearings have a lower burden of proof compared to full trials.
Mr Ephron is also suing Mr Mayers, claiming that after a verbal altercation, Mr Mayers “pulled out a handgun and purposefully pointed it in the direction of [Mr Ephron] and fired multiple shots”.
Mr Ephron was “struck by a bullet projectile or fragment” in his left hand and required medical attention, according to the court papers. He is seeking at least £25,000 (£20,000) in damages.
In an August 2022 court hearing, a judge mandated that Mr. Mayers must maintain a distance of 100 yards (300 feet) from Mr. Ephron at all times.
Previously, Mr. Mayers received a two-year suspended sentence for his involvement in a brawl in Stockholm, Sweden, in August 2019.
Joe Tacopina, the attorney representing Mr. Mayers in the Los Angeles case, is also concurrently representing former President Donald Trump in his New York civil fraud trial.
Known by his stage name A$AP Rocky, he emerged as one of the prominent breakout stars of the 2010s, achieving eight platinum singles in the US, including hits like “Wild For The Night,” “Everyday,” “LSD,” and “A$AP Forever.”
His rise to fame was propelled by the support of artists such as Drake, and he has collaborated with notable figures like Alicia Keys, Lana Del Rey, Skepta, Selena Gomez, and Kendrick Lamar.