Tory Lanez sentencing postponed in Megan Thee Stallion shooting
LOS ANGELES - A judge Tuesday set a new sentencing date of April 10 for rapper Tory Lanez, who has switched attorneys since being convicted of assault and two other charges for shooting fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion in the feet during a 2020 argument in the Hollywood Hills.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Rapper Tory Lanez found guilty in shooting of Megan Thee Stallion
At a brief hearing in downtown Los Angeles, Superior Court Judge David Herriford agreed to rescind an order that had barred the 30-year-old Canadian rapper -- whose real name is Daystar Peterson -- from publicly commenting on the case.
Lanez's new team of attorneys is expected to file a motion for a new trial, which is set to be heard April 10.
Lanez -- who has remained jailed without bail since minutes after the Dec. 23 verdict -- was convicted of one felony count each of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle in connection with the shooting early the morning of July 12, 2020. Jurors also found true allegations that he personally used a firearm and inflicted great bodily injury on Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Pete.
He is facing a maximum potential sentence of 22 years and eight months in state prison.
During the trial, Megan Thee Stallion testified that Lanez told her to "dance, bitch," and shot her in the feet following a get-together at Kylie Jenner's home. The entertainer said she had no doubt that Lanez fired the shots.
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Megan Thee Stallion testified that Lanez offered her $1 million not to say anything and that he said he couldn't go to jail because he was already on probation -- the latter of which Mgdesyan told jurors was simply not the case.
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.
Megan Thee Stallion said the vehicle was stopped soon afterward by police, who ordered all of the occupants out, as her feet were still bleeding. She said she told police that she had stepped on glass when they began questioning her.
"At this time, we were at the height of police brutality with George Floyd," she said, adding that she didn't want to see anybody die and that it was "not really acceptable" in the Black community to cooperate with police.
Under cross-examination, the rapper said she initially had no intention of talking about what had happened and "didn't want to be a snitch" but felt she had to "defend my name" when she saw that people were "making up things" and suggesting that she had never been shot at all.
In a video posted on Instagram Live after the shooting, Megan Thee Stallion said, "Tory shot me. You shot me and you got your publicist and your people are lying ... Stop lying."
Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta told jurors in her final argument that Lanez shot Megan Thee Stallion after she "disrespected" his musical career.
But Lanez's trial attorney, George Mgdesyan, urged the jury to acquit his client and told jurors that investigators "jumped to conclusions" and "botched" their investigation into the shooting.
Lanez's lawyer contended that Megan Thee Stallion's former friend and personal assistant, Kelsey Harris, was "the one who shot her friend." He contended that Megan Thee Stallion concocted a fake story about the shooting for publicity reasons, calling her "a liar" and saying it was a "better story" to say that Lanez shot her in the feet, rather than her former friend.
Mgdesyan told jurors that it was a "case about jealousy," saying the two women had gotten into an argument after finding out that Lanez had slept with both of them. He also said a neighbor reported witnessing a fistfight between the women after the vehicle they were in stopped on Nichols Canyon Road. Jurors heard testimony from that neighbor, and heard it a second time when it was read back by the court reporter during their deliberations.
Lanez's attorney questioned why Harris would have had gunshot residue on her, as a test determined that she did, if she wasn't the person who fired the shots, and he said police failed to test her DNA to check if it could be found on the weapon.
In her rebuttal argument, the prosecutor told jurors it would have been easier for Megan Thee Stallion to accuse Harris of the shooting and that it has "cost her a lot" to accuse Lanez.
"The defendant had a bruised ego because Megan was more successful than him," Ta said. "She's just disrespecting his rapping ... He had a massive ego and could not handle being disrespected ... The defendant shot Megan."
The prosecutor noted that Harris sent a text message within minutes of the shooting in which she wrote, "Help," "Tory shot meg" and "911," and that Lanez was "the only one apologizing" after the shooting.
Harris testified that she didn't know who shot Megan Thee Stallion, didn't want to be involved in the case and denied receiving any "hush money" from Lanez. In a recorded interview subsequently played in court, Harris can be heard telling prosecutors that she saw Lanez shooting at his fellow rapper, but said he "did not say anything."
During cross-examination of Harris, Mgdesyan asked if she was "aware that the defense theory was that you were the shooter." Harris, who was granted use immunity to testify during the trial, has maintained that she "did not" shoot her former best friend, for whom she was working at the time as a personal assistant.
In a posting in 2021 on Twitter, Lanez wrote, "I have all faith in God to show that ... love to all my fans and people that have stayed true to me & know my heart ... a charge is not a conviction."
He opted not to testify in his own defense.
The courtroom quickly erupted into pandemonium following the jury's verdict, with Lanez's father standing and yelling, calling the system "wicked" and the prosecutors "evil" before he was escorted out of court by bailiffs.
Megan Thee Stallion's attorney said in a statement released soon after the verdict was announced, "The jury got it right. I am thankful there is justice for Meg."