A jury found rapper Tory Lanez guilty on Friday of all charges in the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion in 2020 outside a party in Los Angeles.
The Grammy-winning rapper accused Lanez of shooting her in the foot after the couple left a party at Kylie Jenner’s home in 2020. Lanez, whose official name is Daystar Peterson, pleaded not guilty to shooting her and dedicated an entire album to refuting Megan Thee Stallion’s version of events.
He was originally charged with assault with a semi-automatic firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. Prosecutors added a third charge earlier this month, namely the grossly negligent firing of a firearm. Lanez faces a maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months in prison. After serving his sentence, he could also face deportation to his home country Canada.
The jurors came to the verdict after seven hours of deliberations. Lanez was immediately taken into custody following the verdict.
A verdict hearing is scheduled for January 27.
In a statement following the verdict, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón praised Megan Thee Stallion for her “courage.”
“You have shown incredible courage and vulnerability with your statement despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” he said. “You were subjected to an unjust and despicable test that no woman should ever face, and you were an inspiration to others in LA County and across the country.”
Alex Spiro, lawyer for Megan Thee Stallion, said in a statement: “The jury got it right. I’m grateful that there is justice for Meg.”
The case originated in July 2020 when police stopped an SUV with the couple and two other vehicles in Hollywood Hills. Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, testified that she initially told police that she cut her feet on glass when asked why she was bleeding.
She was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where doctors found bullet fragments in her foot, which required surgery to remove them.
“I couldn’t walk for a while,” she testified. “I still have nerve damage. I can’t really feel the side of my left foot. The back of my foot always hurts, but I’m just going through it.”
Weeks after the incident, she publicly stated on her Instagram that she had been shot and finally identified Lanez as the shooter. She later aimed at him in the song “Shots Fired.”
In her statement, Megan Thee Stallion said Lanez offered her $1 million to keep quiet about the shooting.
In an interview with Gayle King in April, before the trial, Megan Thee Stallion explained that she had initially lied to the police because she feared she would end up in a more dangerous situation.
“Do you think I’m going to tell the police right away that we… we black people have a gun in the car? ” she asked. “You want me to tell the law that we have a gun in the car so they can shoot us all?
Lanez declined to testify in his defense. His lawyers had called Sean Kelly, a witness who lived in the area, to tell the court that he had been woken up the night of the shooting by two women fighting with each other.
Kelly testified, according to Variety, that he saw two women fight but then said he saw multiple shots come from a man who “fired everywhere.”
Jurors also heard a recorded interview with Megan Thee Stallion’s former girlfriend Kelsey Harris from September, in which she reported extensively about the altercation between the two rappers.
Harris, who was also in the SUV, testified in court before playing the recording that she could not remember many details of the shooting, but reportedly gave clear details of the evening in her interview with prosecutors.
Harris said in the recorded interview that she heard the two arguing about their “art” and career before filming, according to Rolling Stone. She said Lanez told the women to get off the SUV and Megan Thee Stallion walked away when the first shots were fired.
“He shoots across the door,” Harris told prosecutors. “(He) leaned over the passenger door and shot with the gun.”
The process has attracted a great deal of attention online. Many fans of Megan Thee Stallion criticized the public attention paid to the rapper’s sexual history. Fans have pointed out that slut-shaming or victim blaming is being used to distract from the violence she was subjected to. On the day she took the stand, thousands of people on the Internet used the hashtag #WeStandWithMegan to virtually rally behind her.
One user wrote in a tweet with more than 48,000 likes: “Personally, I don’t care if Megan slept with the entire city of Houston. WHY WAS SHE SHOT?
Other celebrities have also spoken out about the case online, including Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” collaborator Cardi B. She called her a “superstar” on an Instagram Live.
“Why would anyone lie about being shot? “Cardi said. “Why?
Not all online chatting has supported Megan Thee Stallion. Rapper 50 Cent posted a tweet earlier this month with a series of photos that appeared to show Megan Thee Stallion transforming into actress Jussie Smollett. He wrote that he was “confused” and didn’t “know what to think” before adding a link to his merchandise website.