A jury found rapper Tory Lanez guilty Friday of all charges in the 2020 shooting of Megan Thee Stallion outside a Los Angeles party.
The Grammy-winning rapper accused Lanez of shooting her in the foot after the pair left a party at Kylie Jenner’s home in 2020. Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, pleaded not guilty to shooting her and dedicated an entire album to rebutting Megan Thee Stallion’s version of events.
He was originally charged with assault with a semiautomatic firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. Prosecutors added a third charge, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, earlier this month. Lanez faces a maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months in prison. He may also face deportation to his home country of Canada after serving his sentence.
Jurors reached the verdict after seven hours of deliberations. Lanez was immediately taken into custody after the verdict.
A sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 27.
In a statement following the verdict, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón commended Megan Thee Stallion for her “bravery.”
“You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” he said. “You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face and you have been an inspiration to others across LA County and the nation.”
Alex Spiro, an attorney for Megan Thee Stallion, said in a statement, “The jury got it right. I am thankful there is justice for Meg.”
The case originated in July 2020, when police stopped an SUV carrying the pair and two others in Hollywood Hills. Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, testified that she initially told police that she had cut her feet on glass when asked why she was bleeding.
She was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where doctors found bullet fragments in her foot, which required surgery to remove.
“I couldn’t walk for a while,” she testified. “I still have nerve damage. I can’t really feel the side of my left foot. The back of my feet are always sore, but I just push through it.”
She publicly stated on her Instagram weeks after the incident that she had been shot and eventually identified Lanez as the shooter. She later took aim at him in the song “Shots Fired.”
In her testimony, Megan Thee Stallion said Lanez offered her $1 million to keep quiet about the shooting.
In an interview with Gayle King in April, before the trial, Megan Thee Stallion explained that she had initially lied to police because she feared getting into a more dangerous situation.
“You think I’m about to tell the police that we … us Black people got a gun in the car?” she asked. “You want me to tell the law that we got a gun in the car so they can shoot all of us up?”
Lanez declined to testify in his defense. His attorneys had called Sean Kelly, a witness who lived in the area, to tell the court that he had been awakened by two women fighting the night of the shooting.
Kelly testified that he did see two women fighting, according to Variety, but then said he saw what appeared to be multiple gunshots come from a man who was “firing everywhere.”
Jurors also heard a taped interview with Megan Thee Stallion’s former friend Kelsey Harris, from September, in which she gave a detailed account of the altercation between the two rappers.
Harris, who was also in the SUV, testified in court before the recording was played that she could not recall numerous details of the shooting but reportedly offered clear details of the night in her interview with prosecutors.
Harris said in the taped interview that she heard the two argue about their “artistry” and careers before the shooting, according to Rolling Stone. She said that Lanez had ordered the women to exit the SUV, and Megan Thee Stallion was walking away when the first shots were fired.
“He’s shooting over the top of the door,” Harris told prosecutors. “(He’s) leaning over the front passenger door, and he was shooting the gun.”
The trial has garnered significant attention online, with many Megan Thee Stallion fans criticizing the public attention given to the rapper’s sexual history. Fans have called out the slut-shaming or victim-blaming being used to distract from the violence she was subjected to. On the day she took the stand, thousands online used the hashtag #WeStandWithMegan to rally behind her virtually.
One user wrote in a tweet with more than 48,000 likes, “I personally don’t care if Megan slept with the entire city of Houston. WHY WAS SHE SHOT?”
I personally don’t care if Megan slept with the entire city of Houston. WHY WAS SHE SHOT?
— KenBarbie™ (@itsKenBarbie) December 12, 2022
Other celebrities have also spoken up about the case online, including Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” collaborator Cardi B. She called her a “superstar” in an Instagram Live.
“Why would somebody lie about getting shot?” Cardi said. “Why?”
Not all of the online chatter has been supportive of Megan Thee Stallion. Rapper 50 Cent posted a tweet earlier this month with a series of photos that appeared to show Megan Thee Stallion transforming into actor Jussie Smollett. He wrote that he was “confused” and didn’t “know what to think” before adding a link to his merchandise website.
Smollett was sentenced to jail and additional probation in March for falsely reporting to police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in 2019.