Tory Lanez has been convicted of assault and weapons charges after a Los Angeles jury found him guilty on Friday afternoon in the 2020 shooting of rap star Megan Thee Stallion in the Hollywood Hills.
Lanez, 30, was convicted of all three charges leveled against him—assault with a semiautomatic handgun, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. The jury also agreed with the evidence presented that the Canadian-born rapper, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, used a firearm to inflict great bodily injury on Megan Pete, aka Megan Thee Stallion.
Sentencing in the case is scheduled for January 27.
There was reportedly an outburst in the courtroom after the verdict was read. Lanez’s father yelled in that the legal system is “wicked” and called the prosecutors “evil.” Lanez declined Wednesday to testify in his own defense.
“The jury got it right. I am thankful there is justice for Meg,” Alex Spiro, the attorney representing the Grammy-winning rapper, said in a Friday statement.
Lanez shot Megan Thee Stallion in her feet after telling her to “dance, bitch,” in the early morning hour of July 12, 2020, after she allegedly “disrespected” his rap career, according to Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta. His defense attorney, George Mgdesyan said that detectives had “jumped to conclusions” in the investigation into the shooting.
It was Megan Thee Stallion’s former friend and personal assistant, Kelsey Harris, who was “the one who shot her friend,” Mgdesyan told the court, suggesting that Megan Thee Stallion fingered Lanez to gain publicity as her career skyrocketed that year. Calling her “a liar,” Mgdesyan said in open court that the rapper believed she had a “better story” in being shot by Lanez, rather than Harris, and that the two women had quarreled after they’d discovered they’d both had sex with Lanez.
A resident from a house near where the vehicle they left in that morning stopped on Nichols Canyon Road had reported witnessing a fistfight between the women. Jurors heard a readback of testimony about this alleged fight in the jury room during their deliberations, which ended after jurors deliberated into a second day, following a three-hour session on Thursday after they were handed the case.
Why Harris would have had gunshot residue on her if she wasn’t the person who fired the gun was central to the defense’s case; a test had determined this fact—though police did not test her DNA to check if her DNA could be found on the weapon.
However, it was noted at the trial that Harris had sent a text message after the shooting in which she wrote, “Help,” “Tory shot meg” and “911.”
District Attorney George Gascón issued a statement after the verdict was read, in part praising Megan Thee Stallion for showing “incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve.”
“Women, especially Black women, are afraid to report crimes like assault and sexual violence because they are too often not believed. This trial, for the second time this month, highlighted the numerous ways that our society must do better for women,” he said, referencing the Harvey Weinstein rape trial verdict earlier this month.
On Friday, jurors asked Superior Court Judge David Herriford on Friday to allow them to hear a firearm expert’s explanation about the “double action safety” on the gun, along with Megan Thee Stallion’s testimony about “contacting her team after she was shot.” But the panel withdrew the latter request after being asked by the judge to clarify what they needed.
Toward the beginning of the trial, Megan Thee Stallion testified that following a gathering at Kylie Jenner’s home Lanez told her to “dance, bitch,” and shot her in the feet. Lanez later offered her $1 million not to say anything, the rapper told the court; he couldn’t go to jail because he was already on probation, she testified that he’d told her. Mgdesyan told jurors this is not true.
She said she felt pain in both of her feet, but agreed to get back in the vehicle with Lanez and two other people, including Harris, after the shooting because she was wearing a thong bikini and felt like her manager would know what to do if she was able to get to him.
Under cross-examination, the rapper said she “didn’t want to be a snitch” so wasn’t going to testify at the trial. However, when she saw that people were “making up things” and suggesting that she had never been shot at all, her decision was swayed.
In a video posted on Instagram Live following the shooting, Megan Thee Stallion said, “Tory shot me. You shot me and you got your publicist and your people are lying … Stop lying.”
She later wrote an op-ed published in The New York Times stating that she was “recently the victim of an act of violence by a man” and was initially silent about it “out of fear for myself and my friends.”
“Even as a victim, I have been met with skepticism and judgment,” she wrote. “The way people have publicly questioned and debated whether I played a role in my own violent assault proves that my fears about discussing what happened were, unfortunately, warranted.”
City News Service contributed to this report
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