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Rihanna’s lover must face trial for firing gun at childhood friend — Court

Rihanna’s lover and the father of her two children, rapper A$AP Rocky will stand trial on charges that he fired a pistol in a feud with a former childhood friend, a Los Angeles judge has ruled.

The decision came on Monday during the second day of a preliminary hearing, which was attended by A$AP Rocky, real name Rakim Mayers.

Prosecutors say Mr Mayers, 35, pointed and fired a handgun at Terell Ephron two years ago, causing minor injuries. The rapper has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Grammy-nominated rap artiste who has had two US number-one albums, is facing two felony counts of assault with a firearm. He could receive up to nine years in prison if found guilty, BBC.com reports.

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Mr Ephron, who was part of the A$AP Mob hip-hop collective and has known him since their time together at a New York high school, alleges separately in a lawsuit that he is the victim of assault and battery, negligence and emotional distress. Mr Ephron, known as A$AP Relli, says Mr Mayers “lured” him to an obscure location outside the W Hotel in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on 6 November 2021 to discuss a disagreement.

CCTV footage of the alleged assault that was played in court shows Mr Mayers brandishing and firing a gun, an LA detective testified earlier this month.

Mr Mayers’s lawyers deny that it is their client who is seen in the video.

Superior Court Judge ML Villar only had to decide whether there was sufficient evidence for the case to go forward, not whether a crime had been committed. The burden of proof is significantly lower for preliminary hearings like these.

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 bullet projectile/fragments” in his left hand and required medical attention, according to the court papers. He is seeking at least $25,000 (£20,000) in damages.

At a court hearing in August 2022, the judge ordered Mr Mayers to stay 100 yards (300ft) away from Mr Ephron at all times. Mr Mayers was previously given a two-year suspended sentence for his role in a brawl in Stockholm, Sweden, in August 2019.

He is being represented in the Los Angeles case by lawyer Joe Tacopina, who is also representing former President Donald Trump in his New York civil fraud trial.

A$AP Rocky was one of the biggest breakout stars of the 2010s, earning eight platinum singles in the US, including Wild For The Night, Everyday, LSD and A$AP Forever.

He rose to fame after being championed by Drake, and has worked with artists including Alicia Keys, Lana Del Rey, Skepta, Selena Gomez and Kendrick Lamar.

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