(Los Angeles) American rapper A$AP Rocky pleaded not guilty Monday before a Los Angeles judge, in the case where he is suspected of having shot one of his former friends with whom he had founded the hip collective -hop having inspired his stage name.
Born Rakim Mayers, the 35-year-old singer, who has two children with Rihanna, is being prosecuted for assault with a semi-automatic weapon in this case.
Loss of the trial, “the facts will emerge and show that he is truly innocent and that he is a victim in this case,” assured his lawyer Joe Tacopina leaving the court.
The case dates back to November 2021.
Terell Ephron, one of the founding members of the A$AP collective, accuses the rapper of having shot him several times during a nighttime altercation in the streets of Hollywood, slightly injuring him in the hand.
Mr. Ephron, aka A$AP Relli, explained in November that his friendship with A$AP Rocky eventually crumbled because he felt the rapper had “gone the melon.”
He accuses him of having forgotten the other members of the collective that they founded in New York in 2008 when they were in high school and which allowed him to achieve fame.
According to him, the star talked about doing business with them without ever keeping his promises to his youth partners, some of whom descended into poverty and drugs.
This fueled tensions between the two men, particularly after the death of one of the collective’s members in the fall of 2021. Until that November evening, when their meeting outside a Hollywood hotel degenerated into beatings of fire.
The star pulled out a gun and slammed him in the chest, telling him “I’m going to kill you now,” before walking away, according to Mr. Ephron.
Furious at having been threatened, the complainant followed the rapper, insulting him, who finally turned around to shoot him, according to him.
A$AP Rocky’s defense assures that Mr. Ephron, who also filed civil proceedings, fabricated this incident – partially filmed by video surveillance cameras – to try to obtain money.
After two albums – Long. Live. A$AP and At.Long. Last. A$AP – who catapulted him to stardom during the first half of the 2010s, the rapper has produced little music in recent years.
In 2019, he was given a suspended prison sentence in Sweden after a fight. An affair which caused diplomatic tensions between Stockholm and Washington, pushing former President Donald Trump to intervene.