Jurors began deliberations Thursday at the trial of rapper Tory Lanez, who is charged within the feet in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles back in 2020.
The jury of seven women and five men received the case late Thursday morning after Lanez’s defense completed a closing argument from a day earlier, and Los Angeles County prosecutors gave a brief rebuttal.
They will decide on three felony counts brought against the 30-year-old Canadian rapper, who has pleaded not guilty to discharging a firearm with gross negligence, assault with a semiautomatic firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. The counts could lead to up to 22 years in prison and deportation.
Megan Thee Stallion, 27, whose legal name is Megan Pete, testified that Lanezand shouted for her to dance as she walked away from an SUV in which they had been riding in the Hollywood Hills in the summer of 2020. She needed surgery to remove bullet fragments from her feet.
In closing arguments, prosecutors emphasized the courage it took for her to come forward and the vitriol she has faced for it. They said she had no incentive to tell anything but the truth.
Lanez’s lawyer alleged in his closing that the shots were actually fired by Megan’s then-best-friend Kelsey Harris in a jealous fight over Lanez, who tried to stop the shooting. The attorney, George Mgdesyan, alleges Megan created a more sympathetic narrative by pinning the shooting on Lanez.
Harris denied being the shooter and previously identified Lanez as the one holding the gun. Her attorney, in an email, declined to comment on her involvement.
In anMegan Thee Stallion told Gayle King that the shooting precipitated from an argument over whether to leave a house party in the Hollywood Hills.
“The argument was with the two people in the back seat,” Megan Thee Stallion said. “So I asked the driver to pull the car over. Like, I’m done with this. And I should have stayed out of the car. Like, I should have not got back in the car. And they was like, ‘Megan, just get back in the car. We’re almost there.’ And, like, just, ‘Get back in.’ So I get back in the car. It’s… getting worse.”
As the argument escalated, Megan Thee Stallion said she got out of the car, and that’s when, she told King, that Lanez fired a gun at her several times.
“So I get out of the car and it’s like everything happens so fast,” Megan Thee Stallion told King. “And all I hear is this man screaming. And he said, ‘Dance, bitch.’ And he started shooting. And I’m just like, ‘Oh, my God.’ Like, he shot a couple of times. And I was so scared.”
Lanez — whose legal name is Daystar Peterson — began releasing mixtapes in 2009 and saw a steady rise in popularity, moving on to major-label albums. His last two reached the top 10 on Billboard’s charts.
Megan Thee Stallion was already a major rising star at the time of the shooting, and her prominence has surged since. She won a Grammy for best new artist in 2021, and had No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with her own song “Savage,” featuring Beyoncé, and as a guest on Cardi B’s “WAP.”