Rapper Tory Lanez has been found guilty on all three counts in the closely-watched trial over whether he shot Megan Thee Stallion in the foot, ending a nearly two-week trial over the July 2020 incident and setting the stage for a potentially lengthy prison sentence.
The verdict was handed down by a jury in Los Angeles court on Friday (Dec. 23). Lanez was convicted on all counts: assault with a semiautomatic firearm; carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. He faces up to 22 years in prison.
Upon the reading of the verdict, Lanez’s father, who was present in the gallery, began screaming. “This wicked system. Shame of all of you!” he cried out.
In the course of the trial, Lanez’s defense team made their best effort to sow doubt over pulled the trigger, painting a scenario in which Megan’s ex-friend and assistant Harris was the shooter. To make their case, they leaned on inconsistent statements made by Megan in the more than two years since the incident as well as an account from alleged eyewitness Sean Kelly. However, Kelly undercut the defense team’s theory by offering confusing and contradictory testimony from the stand on Tuesday — stating he saw a muzzle flash near where Megan and Harris were scuffling in the street near his home but also that he saw a man matching Lanez’s description holding a gun and, at another point, that he never saw a gun at all.
On the other side, prosecutors have continuously highlighted Megan’s emotional testimony last week, when the Grammy winner held back sobs as she recounted the ordeal and said that she’s received severe public blowback in the wake of the incident, at one point stating, “I wish he had just shot and killed me if I would have known I was going to go through this torture.” In addition to Megan’s direct claims that Lanez was the one who pulled the trigger, prosecutors also poked holes in the defense team’s theory that Harris was the one responsible. In closing arguments, Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott strongly suggested that Harris — who in a prior interview with prosecutors said that Lanez shot Megan and also assaulted her when she tried to intervene — contradicted her prior statements only after being threatened or paid off.
The blockbuster trial arrived nearly two and a half years after Megan was shot at least once in the foot in the early morning hours of July 12, 2020, while on the way home from a small party thrown by Kylie Jenner. According to Megan, after a fight erupted between Lanez, Harris and herself in an SUV driven by Lanez’s security guard Jaquan Smith, she exited the car only to be shot at multiple times by Lanez, who she claimed at one point shouted, “Dance, b—-” while firing out the window. That is clearly the version of the story that jurors, who took less than two days to reach their unanimous verdict, chose to believe.
The trial could well have dragged on beyond Christmas had either Lanez or Smith taken the stand, but on Wednesday, the rapper said he would not be testifying and defense lawyers opted against placing Smith on the stand, citing procedural wrangling and the possibility of a delay that could have forced jurors to return after the holiday.
Megan was not present for the reading of the verdict on Thursday.