UPDATE: Dec 23, 2022, 8:30 p.m. EDT —
A Los Angeles jury has found Canadian rapper Tory Lanez guilty of shooting Grammy-award-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion. Deliberating for seven hours over two days, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all three charges: assault with a semiautomatic firearm; carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharge of a firearm with gross negligence.
According to ABC News, Lanez’s father yelled at prosecutors after the verdict was read, calling them evil and wicked. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan 27, 2023. Lanez could face over 20 years and deportation back to Canada. This guilty verdict follows a guilty verdict in Harvey Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial earlier this week.
Beyond the legal saga, the case has raised issues about entertainment “journalism” and bloggers who have little accountability. Several accounts ran with various narratives of the events surrounding the shooting without regard to the accuracy of the information shared. According to reporting by journalists who have thoroughly researched the issues, many of the “inconsistencies” Lanez’s supporters point to are a result of social media reframing of facts and not an objective analysis of the issues.
Grammy-award-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion took the stand Tuesday in a Los Angeles court to testify against singer Tory Lanez.
During her testimony, the Houston rapper, real name Megan Pete, explained to the court that her life hasn’t been the same since the night she was shot in the foot by Lanez. It was the first time she had gone into lengthy detail about the alleged shooting. Pete expressed to the court that the shooting has severely impacted her health, both physically and mentally.
“I can’t even be happy,” said Pete, holding back tears. ”I can’t hold conversations with people for a long time. I don’t feel like I want to be on this earth. I wish he would have just shot and killed me if I knew I would have to go through this torture.”
Pete also confessed that she and Lanez, real name Daystar Peterson, did in fact have an intimate but not exclusive relationship in 2020 and that she hid the relationship from her former best friend and assistant Kelsey Harris because Harris had a crush on Peterson.
According to NPR, when Pete was asked why she denied having a relationship with Peterson, she told the court she was embarrassed. “How could I share my body with someone who could do this to me?”
Pete also shared her state of mind after she was allegedly shot by Peterson, telling the court after the incident she really didn’t know whom to trust.
“I don’t feel safe in the car. I don’t feel safe with the police,” Pete told the court.
She also expressed her fears about how the incident could impact her music career.
“This situation has only been worse for me and it has only made him more famous,” said Pete. “Because I was shot, I’ve been turned into some kind of villain, and he’s the victim. This has messed up my whole life … This whole situation in the industry is like a big boy’s club … I’m telling on one of y’all friends, now you’re all about to hate me.”
Lanez has been charged with felony assault and gross negligence for the alleged 2020 shooting of the 29-year-old Houston femcee.
On day one of the heated trial, which kicked off on Monday, prosecutors from Megan’s team and Tory Lanez’s defense made a number of eyebrow-raising claims about the events that led up to the shooting.
According to CBS News Los Angeles, Meg’s lawyer, Alexander Bott, alleged that the incident occurred shortly after Meg, Tory and her former best friend Kelsey “Nicole” Harris, left a pool party at Kylie Jenner’s house on July 12, 2020.
Prosecutors say Megan and Tory were arguing before the shooting
After hopping into a Cadillac Escalade around 4:30 a.m., Tory and Meg began arguing. When tension between the two stars came to a boiling point, Meg asked to be let out of the vehicle. According to Bott, Tory shot at Megan five times after she insulted the rapper about his musical skills. A TMZ report noted that Meg sarcastically called the Canadian star “a beautiful artist,” which prompted him to pull the trigger and yell “dance b***h.”
Within about five minutes of the shooting, Kelsey texted one of the rapper’s security guards, “Help Tory Shot Meg,” urging for them to call 911.
“Kelsey will tell you that she just saw her close friend get shot by the defendant,” Bott told jurors in his opening statement, according to Rolling Stone. He added that Harris rushed to Megan’s aid as she lay bleeding on the ground. Both women grew nervous when Tory began approaching them with the gun allegedly still in his hand.
“Kelsey, she’ll tell you she didn’t know if the defendant still had this gun,” Bott continued. “She didn’t know what the defendant was capable of, if he was going to continue his assault. Her defensive instincts kicked into gear, and she approached the defendant. She’ll tell you the defendant physically assaulted her at that point. He pulled her by her hair, and he either punched her or slapped her.”
Prosecutors said that the “WAP” rapper got back into the SUV shortly after she was injured, but the vehicle was later stopped by LAPD.
Gun residue was found on Meg, Tory and Kelsey
After the incident, Tory sent several text messages apologizing to Meg for the shooting. Prosecutors argued that the text messages should serve as evidence of the 30-year-old rapper’s admission to carrying out the attack. Meg’s team also highlighted that Tory tested positive for gunshot residue when investigators inspected the firearm. Kelsey and three other people at the scene also tested positive.
Kelsey is set to testify during the trial.
Tory Lanez’s defense team reveal more details about the argument, alleging Kelsey fired the gun
Tory Lanez’s defense team rattled the courtroom with a different account of the events that led up to the shooting. Lawyers for the 30-year-old rapper argued that he did not pull the trigger. In fact, they allege that Meg’s ex-friend Kelsey fired the gun.
George Mgdesyan, Lanez’s attorney, claimed that Meg and Kelsey got into a “jealousy-fueled” argument at Kylie Jenner’s pool party. They were asked to leave the function after tension between the two former friends escalated. Mgdesyan said that Meg got upset after she witnessed Lanez flirting with Jenner in the pool. The argument continued when the trio got into the SUV.
According to the Lanez team, Kelsey flew into an angry rage after Tory admitted to sleeping with Megan because she too had an intimate relationship with the Canadian Hip-Hop star. Kelsey accused Meg of sleeping with several of her past boyfriends, such as DaBaby and basketball star Ben Simmons, Mgdesyan told jurors.
Further into his opening statement, the attorney argued that Tory’s DNA wasn’t on the gun. Mgdesyan said the “Talk to Me” rapper was wearing a swimsuit during the alleged incident and had nowhere to store the gun in question. He also argued that Tory only tested positive for gunshot residue because he tried to take the gun away from Kelsey. However “prosecutors sought to bar Mgdesyan from saying Harris was the shooter,” Rolling Stone noted.
Prosecutors said that Lanez apologized to Harris in a recorded jail call. He also tried to make amends with Megan in a text message that read, “I know you’re probably never going to talk to me again, but I genuinely want you to know I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. I was just too drunk. Nonetheless, shit should have never happened, and I can’t change what did. I just feel horrible because I genuinely just got too drunk.”
The heated court case ended with an eyebrow-raising testimony from LAPD officer Sandra Cabral, the officer who pulled over the vehicle Megan, Kelsey and Tory were riding in. When she encountered the trio, Cabral said that Kelsey had blood and scratches on her right leg along with a ripped strap on the left side of her bathing suit.
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