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The rapper A$AP Rocky has pleaded not guilty to assault charges in connection with a 2021 shooting in Los Angeles.
The 33-year-old musician, whose legal name is Rakim Mayers, made an appearance at the Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, according to the Associated Press.
Mayers was formally charged on Monday. Firearm enhancements were added to his assault charges, which could make for a heftier penalty should Mayers be found guilty.
Mayers is accused of opening fire as part of a “heated discussion” with a “former friend” on Nov. 6, 2021, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. The victim, who was not named in Monday’s announcement, reportedly sustained a graze wound to his hand before Mayers and two others allegedly fled the scene on foot, the LA Times reported.
Mayers was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in April on suspicion of assault in connection with the shooting. He and his then-pregnant partner, singer and beauty mogul Rihanna, had just returned to California after vacationing in Barbados.
Mayers was released on $500,000 bond less than three hours later, according to Variety.
Rolling Stone was the first to report the victim's name is Terell Ephron, known by his rap name A$AP Relli. He is also part of the A$AP Mob rap crew to which Mayers belongs. According to ABC News, Mayers and Ephron were long-time childhood friends.
Ephron came forward and filed a civil lawsuit last week, accusing Mayers of assault, battery, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
On Wednesday, Ephron’s attorney Jamal Tooson told ABC News Ephron was “injured physically and mentally” due to the alleged shooting.
“It was unprovoked; it wasn’t self-defense,” said Tooson. “It was unjustified.”
The context of the “heated disagreement” credited as the root of the alleged attack was not disclosed, but Ephron’s legal representatives, including Tooson and Brian Hurwitz, told Rolling Stone that Mayers lured Ephron to an “obscure” location in central Hollywood.
“Unbeknownst to Mr. Ephron, A$AP Rocky was not just planning for a conversation and came armed with a semiautomatic handgun,” according to the lawyers’ statement. “After arriving at the location, a conversation ensued whereby without provocation, warning, or any justification, A$AP Rocky produced the handgun and intentionally fired multiple shots at Mr. Ephron."
On Wednesday, Judge Victoria B. Wilson ordered Mayers not to come within 100 yards of or have any contact whatsoever with Ephron. The protective order also prohibits Mayers from being in possession of any firearms or ammunition.
“[Ephron] is emotionally traumatized,” Tooson told ABC News. “He is in a constant state of fear.”
Tooson added that his client has also been facing “a tremendous amount of threats on his life” on social media platforms since coming forward.
A$AP Rocky is reportedly being represented by Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Sara Caplan, whose previous high-profile clients have included O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector, according to RadarOnline. She did not immediately respond to Oxygen.com's request for comment.
Mayers is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 2.
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