LA jury convicts Tory Lanez of shooting Megan Thee Stallion

LOS ANGELES — In a courtroom turning chaotic after a tension-ridden trial, a Los Angeles jury on Friday found rapper Tory Lanez guilty of three felonies in the 2020 filming of hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion. She was wounded in the feet with shrapnel from the attack and Lanez’s conviction could see him in prison for more than 20 years.

Lanez, who was handcuffed and led into jail in a powder pink coat with matching pants, showed no visible reaction when the verdict was read.

But moments later, after the jury had been escorted, his father, Sonstar Peterson, jumped to his feet and exclaimed, “This evil system stands before Almighty God!” as the MPs approached him.

Peterson then pointed to the two prosecutors and yelled, “You two are bad, bad people. You know exactly what you did.”

With considerable effort, the deputies dragged him out of the courtroom, where he screamed into the hallway.

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated since Thursday before charging the 30-year-old Canadian rapper, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, possession of a loaded unregistered firearm in a vehicle and firing it a firearm with convicted of gross negligence.

The jury also agreed that there were aggravating factors in the attack, meaning Lanez could face up to 22 years in prison and deportation if convicted on Jan. 25.

Three young children, including Lanez’s son, sat in the front row of the courtroom while the verdict was read. A young girl cried and was hugged by Lanez’s stepmother, who was also in tears, before starting to scream along with her husband.

Others in the audience shouted approval, and a woman shouted “We love you Tory” as he was led away.

Supporters of Megan and Lanez gathered outside the courthouse for most of the eight-day trial, filling the courtroom and hallway. The scene was tense at times, but remained mostly peaceful until the verdict was announced.

Megan Thee Stallion, real name Megan Pete, testified at trial that Lanez shot her in the heels with a handgun and yelled for her to dance as she walked away from an SUV they were driving in the Hollywood Hills in the summer of 2020. She said the two got into an argument that got particularly heated when she started insulting his music.

She required surgery to remove bullet fragments from her feet.

After the verdict, her attorney, Alex Spiro, said “the jury got it right” and said he was “grateful that there is justice for Meg.”

Lanez’s lawyer, George Mgdesyan, said they were “shocked by the verdict”.

“There was insufficient evidence to convict Mr Peterson,” Mgdesyan said in a statement. “We believe this case has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We will consider all options, including an appeal.”

The shooting unleashed a storm of cultural issues and arguments that culminated during the trial, including black victims’ reluctance to speak to police, protection of black women, gender politics in hip-hop, and online toxicity.

In closing arguments, prosecutors emphasized the courage it took Megan to come forward and the vitriol the 27-year-old faced to do so. They said she had no incentive to tell anything but the truth.

After the verdict, District Attorney George Gascón praised her.

“You have shown incredible courage and vulnerability in testifying despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” Gascón said in a statement.

Lanez’s attorney, in his closing argument, claimed that the shots were actually fired by Megan’s then-best friend, Kelsey Harris, in a jealous argument over Lanez, who was trying to stop the shooting. Attorney George Mgdesyan argued Megan created a more sympathetic narrative by capturing the Lanez shooting.

“Megan Pete is a liar. She lied about everything in this case from the start,” Mgdesyan said. “She lied here under oath.”

Harris denied being the shooter and previously identified Lanez as the one holding the gun. Her lawyer declined to comment on her involvement in an email.

Lanez began releasing mixtapes in 2009 and experienced a steady rise in popularity before transitioning to major label albums. His last two hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts.

Megan Thee Stallion was already a huge rising star at the time of filming and her notoriety has skyrocketed since then.

She won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 2021 and had #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for her own song “Savage” with Beyoncé and as a guest on Cardi B’s “WAP.”


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