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Prosecutors Make Closing Arguments In Tory Lanez Trial Over Megan Thee Stallion Shooting
Prosecutors repeated their assertions that Tory Lanez shot Megan Thee Stallion over his bruised ego after she insulted his music, while the defense called the victim "a liar."
Closing statements in the trial of Tory Lanez for allegedly shooting Megan Thee Stallion began on Wednesday and were set to continue into Thursday.
Tory Lanez, whose given name is Daystar Peterson, is charged with assault with a semiautomatic firearm – personal use of a firearm, intentional discharge of a firearm and negligent discharge of a firearm, to which he's pleaded not guilty. The Canadian-born rapper could face more than 20 years in prison and deportation if convicted.
Prosecutors say that Lanez shot Megan Thee Stallion, whose given name is Megan Pete, on July 12, 2020, after leaving a boozey get-together at Kylie Jenner's home in a Cadillac Escalade driven by his bodyguard, Jauquan Smith, with her friend and assistant Kelsey Harris.
Lanez, reportedly upset at leaving the party, revealed to the two women that he'd slept with Harris before becoming intimate with Megan Thee Stallion — who testified that, in her mind they had something like a "friends with benefits" scenario, rather than a serious romantic relationship.
The three began to argue, and ultimately the two musical artists began to insult one another, with Megan Thee Stallion allegedly sarcastically calling Lanez "a beautiful artist" and then saying he was only relevant because he was "on a remix with Jack Harlow," according to Harris, Rolling Stone reported.
Prosecutors said in both their opening and closing statements that the musical insult was Lanez's last straw that night, saying he had a "bruised ego" and lashed out at Megan Thee Stallion, according to NPR's Louder Than A Riot.
They say that, after Smith pulled the car over in Hollywood Hills, Megan Thee Stallion exited — clad only in the thong bikini she'd been wearing at Jenner's home — and walked away while Harris and Lanez continued yelling. Lanez, screaming epithets (she testified he yelled, "Dance, b*tch" but another witness heard Lanez use "the n-word" and "m-fers"), fired a gun in Megan Thee Stallion's direction. Bullet fragments lodged in her feet and she crawled into a neighboring driveway as Harris and Lanez allegedly had a physical altercation.
Eventually, knowing the cops had likely been called, Harris, Lanez and Smith helped Megan Thee Stallion back to the vehicle and drove off. Harris texted Megan Thee Stallion's bodyguard "Help," "Tory Shot Meg," and "911," while, in the backseat, the injured rapper put her feet on her friend's lap. During the ride, Lanez offered the women each $1 million if they didn't tell anyone what happened, both women testified.
They were all pulled over minutes later and handcuffed. Megan Thee Stallion, who initially told police she had stepped on glass because she feared police might escalate into violence, was taken to the hospital and into surgery. A single, still-warm gun was found in the front seat of the vehicle, where Lanez had been sitting, and he was arrested.
Lanez later called Harris from jail to apologize, saying things like, "I was just so f*cking drunk,” “I just didn’t understand what was going on,” “I never did that sh*t if I wasn’t that drunk,” and "I don’t even remember what we was even arguing about," according to Law & Crime and Rolling Stone. He also texted an apology to Megan Thee Stallion.
Prosecutors say all the evidence suggests that Lanez is the person who shot Megan Thee Stallion, even if Harris' testimony was more equivocal than her September statement to authorities, which was ultimately played in full for the jury.
"Something happened to Kelsey,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott told the jury on Wednesday, according to Law & Crime. “Something spooked her. Something got to her. Maybe she took one of those bribes."
Lanez's defense counsel George Mgdesyan countered with, "Megan Pete is a liar."
While he conceded that Megan Thee Stallion was shot, he suggested that, because she didn't acknowledge her sexual relationship with Lanez in media interviews about the shooting and may have initially told police she walked south rather than north when she exited the vehicle (though it's unclear she did so), she can't be trusted, Rolling Stone reported.
Mgdesyan argued instead that Harris — with whom Megan Thee Stallion had a falling out after the shooting, reportedly believing she'd accepted Lanez's bribe — was the one who shot Megan Thee Stallion. (Harris denied that under oath.) He also argued that the reason his own defense witness, Hollywood Hills resident Sean Kelly, saw the gun in Lanez's hand was because he tried to grab it from Harris to keep her from shooting — an argument he did not make in his opening statements.
"My client was trying to save the Black woman [Megan Thee Stallion] they’re talking about," he said, according to Rolling Stone.
He additionally argued that Lanez was too short — "what, 5-foot-2" — to have shot at Megan Thee Stallion over the door of the Escalade, as the victim testified. (Kelly, the defense witness, testified that he saw one muzzle flash before Lanez exited the vehicle and four or five more distinctly from a shouting, agitated Lanez after he exited.)
Lanez, who opted not to testify in his own defense, is reportedly 5'3", and prosecutors had suggested to the judge earlier this week that, if he testified, he would be asked about his alleged propensity to lie about his height.
Mgdesyan's defense, as well as any rebuttal from prosecutors, was set to resume on Thursday morning before the case goes to the jury.