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Tory Lanez Spent Christmas In Jail After Being Convicted Of Shooting Megan Thee Stallion
The Canadian rapper was convicted of the July 2020 shooting Friday afternoon and immediately remanded into custody.
Rapper Tory Lanez spent this Christmas in the Los Angeles County Jail — the first such holiday of potentially many — after being convicted late Friday of all three counts in the shooting of rapper Megan Thee Stallion.
Lanez, whose given name is Daystar Peterson, was convicted around 3:15 p.m. on Friday of assault with a firearm, possession of an unregistered firearm in a vehicle and negligent discharge of a firearm, according to Law & Crime. He was immediately remanded into custody pending sentencing.
Lanez, who is a Canadian citizen, faces more than 22 years in prison at his Jan. 27 sentencing, according to TMZ, as well as possible deportation.
After a two-week trial and one day of jury deliberations, he was convicted of shooting at Megan Thee Stallion from an SUV that had pulled over in the Hollywood Hills after a night of drinking on July 12, 2020. Megan Thee Stallion, whose given name is Megan Pete, testified that she and her now-former friend Kelsey Harris had spent the day drinking at a pool party at Kylie Jenner's home and she eventually invited Lanez to join them.
The three had met at a Roc Nation brunch where Harris had expressed a romantic interest in Lanez that Megan Thee Stallion initially encouraged. She didn't know the two had slept together in early 2020 before Harris returned to Houston, caught COVID-19 and stayed for several months. While the two friends were separated, Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion grew to be closer friends, bonding over the deaths of their mothers and also ultimately sleeping together.
Lanez didn't reveal to either woman his entanglement with the other until the three were leaving Jenner's party in a Cadillac Escalade being driven by his bodyguard, Jaquan Smith. The revelation sparked a three-way argument that ended with Megan Thee Stallion and Lanez insulting one another's music, with Megan Thee Stallion ultimately sarcastically referring to Lanez as a "beautiful artist" and saying he was only popular because one of his songs had been featured on a remix by rapper Jack Harlow.
Amid the fighting, Megan Thee Stallion testified that she asked Smith to pull over and let her out, and he pulled up near the Hollywood Hills home of a man named Sean Kelly, who called 911 as the fighting woke him and his son up. Kelly, who was supposed to be Lanez's star witness, ultimately testified that Lanez exited the vehicle, cursing at Harris and Megan Thee Stallion and began firing wildly.
Megan Thee Stallion sustained bullet wounds to her feet, requiring surgery and rehabilitation. Kelly testified that he thought all three people — Harris, Lanez and Smith — had hit Megan Thee Stallion after she fell to the ground and then dragged her back to the vehicle. He testified that she thought Harris and Lanez had an altercation and was ultimately helped back to the vehicle.
Lanez's lawyer tried to pin the shooting on Harris, whose memories of the night — once crystal-clear in an interview with prosecutors ultimately played in full for the jury — came and went during her own testimony as she seemingly attempted to avoid implicating Lanez while insisting she hadn't shot her then-friend and employer, Megan Thee Stallion.
Another prosecution witness, Megan's former bodyguard Justin Edison, disappeared the day before he was due to testify in the case. Edison was expected to testify that, after the shooting, he went to Lanez's home to retrieve some of Megan Thee Stallion's belongings and Lanez told him that he hadn't been trying to hit Megan Thee Stallion when he was shooting. Edison reemerged on Friday morning, ABC News reported, after he could no longer be called to testify. His family said it was in response to reports they'd made that the bench warrant issued for him resulted in several visits from the Los Angeles Police Department.
Ultimately, Lanez declined to testify in his own defense. His bodyguard, Smith, was added to the witness list last week but, since he had declined to provide a witness statement at the time of the shooting, prosecutors requested a continuance for after Christmas to prepare their cross-examination and Lanez's lawyers opted to end their defense to try to prevent a mistrial from being declared over Christmas recess.
The jury then returned a guilty verdict.
After the verdict was announced, Lanez's family and supporters disrupted courtroom proceedings, Law & Crime reported, blaming the verdict on rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z and suggesting it was the work of the devil.
"This wicked system stands judged before God almighty!” Sonstar Peterson, Lanez's father, shouted in court after the jury had left the room, according to Los Angeles station KTLA. “You two are evil, wicked people," he told prosecutors. "You know exactly what you did."
Lanez's stepmother also began screaming in the courtroom, while another woman stood up and yelled, "In the name of Jesus!" as deputies began attempting to clear the courtroom of disruptions, Law & Crime reported.
A third woman turned about and told reporters, "Jay-Z is a b*tch. Report that: Jay-Z is a b*tch," the outlet added.
Outside, Peterson gave a longer statement to reporters where he blamed both Jay-Z and his label, Roc Nation — which manages Megan Thee Stallion — for the conviction.
"I just stood here, in this Los Angeles County, and witnessed the worst miscarriage of justice this world has ever seen," he said, according to The Root. "You wanna know exactly how I feel? I got some names I wanna call out: Alex Sipiro, Desiree Perez, and the whole wicked system of Roc Nation, including you Jay-Z.”
Megan Thee Stallion is signed to — and in an ongoing legal dispute with — her label, 1501 Certified, though she's managed by Roc Nation. She obtained a restraining order against 1501 after they allegedly attempted to block her performance at November's American Music Awards. She's seeking a ruling that the albums she's released fulfill her 2018 contract with the label, as well as a financial award for alleged underpayment royalties and excessive promotion fees.
Lanez had a contract with Interscope that he fulfilled in April 2020, according to Billboard. He allegedly turned down new offers to remain independent, according to Complex; his father alleged on Friday that one of the offers he turned down was from Roc Nation, though neither party has confirmed that.
Harris, who testified that postpartum depression was one of the reasons she didn't want to testify, is married to and had her baby with 1501 executive Darien Smith, GQ reported. Smith is the man who accompanied Harris to give the September statement to prosecutors fingering Lanez as the shooter.
It's unclear what role Lanez's family believes Jay-Z and Roc Nation played in the case or why the family believes they would have targeted Lanez.
"You who say you rose from the gutter, but you have traded and bargained, and tortured the souls of young men, and you’re still doing it," Peterson said to Jay-Z in front of reporters on Friday, The Root reported.
He acknowledged that people might think his statements were simply his emotions talking.
"You will say, ‘I say this because I’m a father.’ See I am a father of thousands around the world. I am a father of my kids, but a spiritual father to many," Peterson said. "And I don’t make stupid allegations cause I ain’t got nothing better to do ... it’s not over, it’s not over ... God does not lose."
Lanez was booked into the L.A. County jail just hours later.