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A jury convicted rapper Tory Lanez on all counts in the 2020 shooting of Megan Thee Stallion, an incident that left her with gunshot wounds in her feet and prompted online hate and attacks on her credibility from his supporters that she described in emotional testimony.
Lanez, 30, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, was found guilty Friday of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
Lanez had pleaded not guilty to all three charges, which carry a combined sentence of up to 22 years in prison.
The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for roughly one and a half days before reaching the verdict. Chaos erupted as the verdict was read, according to reporters inside the courtroom. Lanez’s father and stepmother stood up and yelled in protest.
“This is a wicked system,” his father screamed, calling prosecutors evil, reporter Meghan Cuniff tweeted.
Lanez was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
“The jury got it right,” Megan’s lawyer Alex Spiro told BuzzFeed News in an email. “I am thankful there is justice for Meg.”
According to prosecutors, Lanez and Megan got into an argument after she criticized his “musical skills” after leaving a pool party thrown by Kylie Jenner in the Hollywood Hills on July 12, 2020. Megan asked to be let out of the SUV they were riding in. After she got out, Lanez shot her feet three times, injuring her, prosecutors said.
During her testimony on Dec. 13, the 27-year-old Grammy winner, whose full name is Megan Pete, said that Lanez was halfway out of the car when he yelled, “Dance, bitch!” When she looked back, she saw him holding a gun and opening fire, she said.
On the witness stand, Megan broke down while sharing the toll the shooting and the trial have taken on her. She described seeing cruel and hateful messages about herself online daily, including some that said she deserved to be shot, and she added that the backlash had hurt her reputation in the music industry.
“I can’t even be happy,” Megan said. “I wish he would have shot and killed me if I knew I had to go through this torture.”
In 2020, Megan initially told police officers that she cut her feet on broken glass, later explaining that she was too scared in the moment to be honest about how she sustained her injuries. Months later, Lanez accused Megan in a new album of “trying to frame” him, denying all allegations in multiple songs.
Defense attorneys for Lanez focused on the lie Megan told at the scene, questioning the credibility of her testimony and other statements. They also challenged the logistics of the alleged shooting, including how Lanez could fire a gun at her if he was still inside the car.
Lanez’s attorneys also tried to push a narrative that someone else had shot Megan. Another woman in the car that night, Kelsey Nicole, tested positive for gunshot residue, the chemicals released when a gun is fired, as did Lanez. They suggested that Megan was motivated to lie about what happened the night of the shooting because she and Nicole, then her personal assistant and friend, had both had sexual relationships with Lanez, which Megan has denied.
Nicole told prosecutors in September that she saw Lanez leaning over the SUV’s door as shots were fired and said, “He’s shooting over the top of the door, the right front passenger side,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Yet while testifying on Dec. 16, Nicole said that she had no idea who shot Megan and that she couldn’t remember whether Lanez had offered her money to stay silent. She described most of the details from that night as a blur.
Megan has said that she and Nicole no longer speak to each other following the shooting.
Lanez declined to testify in his own defense Wednesday, according to Rolling Stone, after prosecutors said they had a stockpile of evidence against the rapper.
As the trial began, several dozen people turned out in support of Megan in front of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles, some holding signs that read, “We Stand With Megan.” Supporters of Lanez also protested outside the courthouse that he was wrongfully charged.
In October 2020, Megan wrote a guest essay for the New York Times, calling out society’s failures to protect Black women and treat them with respect.
“Even as a victim, I have been met with skepticism and judgment,” she wrote. “The way people have publicly questioned and debated whether I played a role in my own violent assault proves that my fears about discussing what happened were, unfortunately, warranted.”
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