By Terrance Turner
Dec. 22, 2022 (started Dec. 14)
Rapper Tory Lanez has been found guilty on charges of shooting rapper Megan the Stallion in July 2020. A jury found him guilty on all three counts: assault with a semiautomatic handgun, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. He faces more than 20 years in prison and could be deported. (He’s a native Canadian.) Sentencing will be Jan. 27 at 8:30 a.m. local time, according to KABC.
Rapper Megan thee Stallion testified last week at the trial. The next day, her former friend Kelsey Harris testified. Their testimonies added more color and contradictions to a sprawling story about what happened that night.
Megan (born Megan Pete) arrived at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center Dec. 13, with a blunt bob and a belted purple Sergio Hudson suit. The choice of attire is significant. According to Page Six, purple is the color of domestic violence awareness.
Inside the courthouse, Pete took the stand.
The Los Angeles Times says that Pete’s testimony lasted four hours. LA County Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta is is one of the prosecutors in the case. Ta asked Megan if she knew Lanez. “Yes…We use to hang out all the time,” she responded. Take also asked about her relationship with Kelsey Harris, who Megan says was her “best friend since freshman year of college”. Harris even became her assistant at the end of 2019.
On July 11, 2020, Pete, Harris and stylist EJ King attended a pool party at reality star Kylie Jenner’s house. Pete invited Lanez (born Daystar Peterson) to the party. But by the time he arrived, Pete said, she, Jenner, Harris and Peterson were the only ones left.
“My hair was starting to come off and I was ready to go,” said Pete. She added that Lanez “had an attitude because he wasn’t ready to leave the party.” Ultimately, Pete, Harris, Lanes and his driver (security guard) Jauquan Smith left the party together.
A Tense Car Ride
In the car, tensions rose when Lanez brought up how he and Pete had an (occasional) sexual relationship. “You need to stop lying to your friend,” he told Pete. Megan knew that Harris had a crush on Lanez, and she “didn’t want her to know that I had dealt with him in any kind of way”.
She didn’t want the public to know, either. She denied having a sexual relationship with Lanez in an interview with CBS host Gayle King.
When defense attorneys asked Pete if she had lied about their relationship, she said yes. Why?
When asked specifically why she had not previously revealed the nature of her relationship with Peterson, Pete said she was embarrassed, “because it’s disgusting at this point. How could I share my body with someone who could do this to me?”
Lanez provoked both women by calling them “b–ches” and “hoes”, Pete said. The argument escalated. At one point she exited the car, but later re-entered. “I realize, oh my god, I’m literally at the peak of being so famous right now, and I’m in a thong (bikini). And I look crazy, and if anybody sees me walking down the street like this, it’s going to be bad for me,” she testified.
Megan said she got back in the vehicle, where Peterson and Harris were screaming at each other at the “top of their lungs.”
Exit — and Escalation
After Smith turned down a side street and they approached Megan’s house, she asked to get out of the car again. She said Peterson had disparaged her rap career, so she disparaged his in return, causing him to become even angrier.
“Tory was basically telling me I wasn’t s–t, and I said, ‘Actually, YOU ain’t s–t. This is where you at in your career. This is where you at with your music.’ And I feel like that really rubbed him the wrong way. He kept yelling and cursing,” she said.“I start walking away from the car, and I can hear Tory say, ‘Dance, bitch!’
“I don’t have to turn all the way around; I didn’t have to use my feet to turn around,” she testified, displaying for the jury how she turned her head without turning her entire body. “I literally turned like this, and I could see him with the gun.”
“I’m in shock. I’m scared. I hear the gun going off, and I can’t believe he’s shooting at me,” Pete said in court. Peterson shot her in both of her feet.
The group drove away from the area, with Pete trying to stanch her bloody wound with towels in the backseat. Pete said Tuesday that Peterson immediately promised each woman $1 million if they did not tell police about the incident.
According to Variety, Lanez was arrested for possession of a concealed weapon. Lanez was arrested on felony charges at 4:40 a.m. and released on a $35,000 bond around six hours later.
Three days later, Megan released a statement that explained the incident. She said, in part: “On Sunday morning, I suffered gunshot wounds, as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me. I was never arrested. The police officers drove me to the hospital where I underwent surgery to remove the bullets. I’m incredibly grateful to be alive and that I’m expected to make a full recovery.” She added, “I was shot in both of my feet.”
Megan did not name her assailant, and the LAPD said that she did not report being a victim of any crime. However, Megan revealed in August that Tory Lanez had shot her. She said she hadn’t initially reported the shooting due to concerns about police brutality.
“Yes this n—a Tory shot me,” Megan says in an Instagram Live video. “You shot me, and you got your publicist and your people going to these blogs lyin’ and s–t. Stop lyin’. Why lie?” She added: “All this s–t goin’ on with the police? Police is shootin’ motherf–kers for anything. The police was literally killin’ Black people for no motherf–kin’ reason. Soon as the police tell us all get out the motherf–kin’ car, the police is really aggressive. You think I’m bout to tell the police that we, n—as, us Black people, got a gun in the car? You want me to tell the law we got a gun in the car so they can shoot all of us up?”
Harris showed up to a court with her lawyer. She’d asserted her Fifth Amendment rights the night before testifying, per the Los Angeles Times. She confirmed having received offers of hush money from Lanez. But she reportedly could not remember if Peterson had paid off her lawyer.
Initially, prosecutors had been allowed to play only portions of her recording to refresh her recollection on the stand, and Herriford told jurors they could not consider the tape as evidence.
But that changed after one lawyer made remarks during his cross-examination that suggested prosecutors had pressured Harris during the September interview. Bott then requested to play the whole recording to rebut the idea prosecutors acted improperly. Herriford agreed.
On tape, Harris’ memory is much more vivid.
“I don’t know if [Peterson] was hitting me with a closed fist or he was slapping me, but there was a physical altercation,” Harris said, adding she “became afraid for my life when he started pulling my hair and my neck really, really hard.”
Harris also clearly described Pete as having been shot and bleeding, according to the recording, and also confirmed she sent the text message blaming Peterson for the shooting.