Tory Lanez was found guilty of all charges in the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion outside a Los Angeles party in 2020 by a jury on Friday.
After leaving a party at Kylie Jenner’s house in 2020, the Grammy-winning rapper accused Lanez of shooting her in the foot. Lanez, real name Daystar Peterson, pleaded not guilty to the shooting and dedicated an entire album to refuting Megan Thee Stallion’s version of events.
He was initially charged with assault with a semiautomatic firearm and transporting an unregistered firearm in a vehicle. Prosecutors added a third charge earlier this month, discharging a firearm with gross negligence. Lanez faces a maximum prison sentence of 22 years and eight months. After serving his sentence, he may be deported to his home country of Canada.
After seven hours of deliberation, the jury reached a decision. Lanez was arrested immediately following the verdict.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for January 27.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón praised Megan Thee Stallion for her “bravery” in a statement issued after the verdict.
“Despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve, you demonstrated incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony,” he said. “You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face, and you have served as an inspiration to others throughout Los Angeles County and the country.”
Megan Thee Stallion’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said in a statement, “The jury was correct. I am relieved that Meg has received justice.”
The investigation began in July 2020, when police pulled over an SUV carrying the couple and two others in Hollywood Hills. Megan Thee Stallion, real name Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, testified that when police asked why she was bleeding, she initially told them she had cut her feet on glass.
She was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where doctors discovered bullet fragments in her foot that needed to be removed surgically.
“I couldn’t walk for a while,” she said in court. “I’m still suffering from nerve damage. I can’t feel the side of my left foot at all. My feet are always sore in the back, but I just push through it.”
She publicly stated on her Instagram account that she had been shot and eventually identified Lanez as the shooter. Later, in the song “Shots Fired,” she took aim at him.
Megan Thee Stallion testified that Lanez offered her $1 million to keep quiet about the shooting.
Megan Thee Stallion explained to Gayle King in April, before the trial, that she initially lied to police because she was afraid of getting into a more dangerous situation.
“Do you think I’m going to tell the cops that we… us Black people have a gun in the car?” she inquired. “Do you want me to tell the cops that we have a gun in the car so they can shoot us all?”
Lanez refused to testify in his own defence. His attorneys had summoned Sean Kelly, a nearby witness, to testify in court that he had been awakened by two women fighting the night of the shooting.
According to Variety, Kelly testified that he saw two women fighting, but then saw what appeared to be multiple gunshots come from a man who was “firing everywhere.”
Jurors also heard a September taped interview with Megan Thee Stallion’s former friend Kelsey Harris, in which she detailed the altercation between the two rappers.
Harris, who was also in the SUV, testified in court before the recording was played that she couldn’t recall many details of the shooting but reportedly provided detailed information about the night in her interview with prosecutors.
According to Rolling Stone, Harris stated in the taped interview that she overheard the two arguing about their “artistry” and careers prior to the shoot. Lanez had ordered the women to exit the SUV, and Megan Thee Stallion was walking away when the first shots were fired, according to her.
“He’s shooting through the top of the door,” Harris testified to prosecutors. “He was leaning over the front passenger door, shooting the gun.”
The trial has received a lot of attention online, with many Megan Thee Stallion fans criticising the rapper’s sexual history being made public. Fans have criticised the use of slut-shaming or victim-blaming to divert attention away from the violence she endured. On the day she took the stand, thousands of people used the hashtag #WeStandWithMegan to virtually rally behind her.
One user wrote in a tweet that received over 48,000 likes, “I don’t mind if Megan slept with the entire city of Houston. WHY WAS SHE KILLED?”
Other celebrities, including Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” collaborator Cardi B, have also spoken out about the case online. She referred to her as a “superstar” during an Instagram Live.
“Why would anyone lie about being shot?” Cardi stated. “Why?”
Not everyone on the internet is rooting for Megan Thee Stallion. Rapper 50 Cent shared a series of photos on Twitter earlier this month that appeared to show Megan Thee Stallion transforming into actor Jussie Smollett. He said he was “confused” and didn’t “know what to think” before adding a link to his merchandise website.
In March, Smollett was sentenced to jail and additional probation for lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in 2019.