A$AP Rocky claims he did not shoot friend A$AP Relli during an argument in Hollywood and has branded it an extortion attempt after pleading not guilty to charges in a Los Angeles courthouse last month.
Attorney Tacopina made the comments to Rolling Stone, shedding new light on the disputed incident that led to criminal charges and a civil lawsuit against his client. Rocky is accused of using a firearm on Relli, which the rapper has denied.
“Rocky didn’t shoot him by any stretch,” Tacopina told the magazine, calling the firearm assault allegations “just a plain and blatant classic attempt at extortion.”
The attorney claims Relli had been badgering Rocky for money before he allegedly initiated a physical altercation in November during an in-person meeting and then tried to spin the confrontation into a shooting claim.
“He’s a failed associate – ex-associate – of Rocky’s, and he’s jealous,” Tacopina said of Relli. “He was trying to get money from Rocky. He wanted Rocky to support him. He made it clear. There were repeated attempts where he tried to ask for money in lieu of not causing problems for Rocky. That’s what he said. We have all this memorialized in text messages and otherwise, so it’s an extortion.”
Tacopina adds that Relli was the aggressor during the incident: “He tried to attack Rocky, and some other guy got involved, and he punched some other guy in the face and knocked his teeth out, and of course now, according to him, he’s a victim.”
Last month, A$AP Rocky, born name Rakim Mayers, pleaded not guilty to two counts of using a semiautomatic firearm to assault Relli, born name Terell Ephron. He remains free on a $550,000 bond and could face up to nine years in prison if convicted as charged.