Tory Lanez has been found guilty of shooting Megan Thee Stallion, The New York Times and Rolling Stone report. He faces more than 20 years in prison for felony charges of assault with a semiautomatic handgun, carrying a concealed gun in a vehicle, and discharging a firearm in a negligent manner.
A sentencing hearing for the case is set for January 27, with Lanez facing a maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months in prison. He’s also facing deportation due to his status as a Canadian citizen.
The trial of Tory Lanez, who had pleaded not guilty, began in December. In the opening arguments, Los Angeles County’s deputy district attorney Alexander Bott claimed that the rapper and singer shot Megan Thee Stallion, and that Kelsey Harris, her former friend and assistant, witnessed the shooting from its lead-up through its immediate aftermath. Bott shared an apologetic text message and a voicemail from Lanez as evidence of his culpability. Lanez’s defense attorney, George G. Mgdesyan, maintained that the conflict was purely between Harris and Megan.
On December 14, Harris took the witness stand, and prosecutors played snippets of a recorded interview that she gave in September, according to Rolling Stone. In the interview, Harris claimed that Lanez threatened to shoot her inside a vehicle before he allegedly opened fire on Megan. During her appearance, Harris said that she did not want to be in court and referred to the proceeding as a “triggering situation.” Though she confirmed that she gave the recorded statement in September, she claimed that the details were “not accurate” and that she was “not truthful” that day to protect herself.
Harris invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, Rolling Stone points out. She reportedly said that the night of the alleged incident “was a blur,” and that she and others “were under the influence.” At one point, prosecutor Kathy Ta asked Harris about her previous statement that Lanez was “aiming the gun straight but always in a downward direction toward Megan.” Harris claimed not to have witnessed the shooting, but did admit to sending texts that read “Help / Tory shot meg / 911” to Megan’s bodyguard. She said those messages were based on “assumptions.”
In her own testimony, Megan Thee Stallion reiterated her version of events: She and Lanez had an argument in an SUV after a party at Kylie Jenner’s house; when it escalated, she left the vehicle, and Lanez shot her feet. She added that Lanez offered her $1 million to stay quiet.
Lanez, who was born Daystar Shemuel Shua Peterson, had been under house arrest in the weeks leading up to his trial, a measure imposed for violating the conditions of his bail by allegedly assaulting August Alsina in September. He had previously had his bail raised twice for violating protective orders: once for appearing with DaBaby at Rolling Loud Miami, where Megan Thee Stallion was performing, and again in April for making references to her on social media. He declined to testify during the trial.
Following the verdict, Los Angeles County’s district attorney, George Gascón, shared a statement “highlighting the bravery” of Megan Thee Stallion. “Women, especially Black women, are afraid to report crimes like assault and sexual violence because they are too often not believed,” he said. “This trial, for the second time this month, highlighted the numerous ways that our society must do better for women.”
When reached for comment, Megan Thee Stallion’s attorney, Alex Spiro, added: “The jury got it right. I am thankful there is justice for Meg.”
Lanez’s attorney, George Mgdesyan, also shared a statement. “We are shocked by the verdict. There was not sufficient evidence to convict Mr. Peterson,” he said. “We believe this case was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We will be exploring all options including an appeal.”