A Los Angeles jury has found Tory Lanez guilty of shooting rapper Megan Thee Stallion in the feet in the summer of 2020, concluding nearly two weeks of tense trial with three felony convictions: assault with a semi-automatic handgun; carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. Throughout the course of the trial and leading up to it, Lanez, a Canadian whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, adamantly denied the allegations against him and pleaded not guilty. He now faces more than 20 years in prison and potential deportation.
Since the shooting, both Megan, whose legal name is Megan Pete, and Lanez have shared allegations on social media, and misinformation about the case has spread widely. The New York Times reports that Lanez’s sentencing will take place on January 27. Let’s run down how we got here in the first place.
In the summer of 2020, Megan accused Lanez of shooting her in the foot.
In July 2020, Megan was seen getting into a police car with bloody feet, and she was taken to the hospital. Reports initially suggested that she had sustained injuries from broken glass and had been arrested after a night of partying with friends. It was later reported that Lanez, who was also in the car, was arrested for possession of an unregistered firearm.
A few days later, Megan claimed in a since-deleted Instagram post that she had suffered gunshot wounds to her feet “as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me.” At the time, she did not specify who had shot her.
During an Instagram Live in August 2020, Megan claimed it was Lanez who shot her. Though she did not initially tell police that she had been shot, she explained that, in the moment, she hadn’t trusted the police to protect her. “Why the fuck would I tell [the police] somebody got a gun in this car and this n- - - - shot me?” she said. “So I can get shot, you can get shot, she can get shot, he can get shot?”
Following her accusation, Lanez denied the allegations. In an Instagram Live video, he cast doubt on whether or not Megan had been shot in the first place (her medical records reportedly indicate that she was), and floated the idea that even if she was shot, she couldn’t have seen who was shooting if she had been walking away from the car at the time of her injuries.
Lanez was officially charged in October 2020 with one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and one count of carrying an unregistered weapon. According to the charges, he, Megan (who was not explicitly named in the charges), and two other individuals were driving in the Hollywood Hills when an argument broke out. Eventually, the car stopped and Megan got out, which is when Lanez allegedly fired several shots at her feet.
Megan released texts she says Lanez sent her after the shooting.
Later, Megan posted (and then deleted) images of texts she claims Lanez sent her the day after the shooting. The texts include one that appears to have been sent on the night of July 12 that reads, “I genuinely want u to know I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart.” At the time of his arrest, Lanez also reportedly called Megan’s friend, saying, “What happened, happened already. I can’t take it back. I’m just telling y’all I’m sorry.”
Lanez appeared to respond on Twitter, writing “Good D*ck had me fucking 2 best friends… and I got caught … that’s what I appologized 4. … it’s sick how u Spun it tho.” Lanez’s attorney Shawn Holley claimed that it was Megan and her former friend and assistant Kelsey Nicole Harris who were fighting on the night of the shooting and suggested that Lanez fired the gun to protect Megan from Harris.
Both Harris and Megan denied this version of events. After Lanez’s tweet, Megan again took to her Instagram Stories, writing, in part, “You keep putting a narrative out that me and my friend fell out about you and that’s not true! Why are you skipping over the shooting.” She continued, “You think its okay to shoot me then harass me online and make it like this was some weird cat fight what the actual fuck is wrong with you.”
During a hearing in April, a judge ruled that Lanez violated his protective order against Megan by tweeting about her. Lanez was handcuffed in court and his bail was increased to $350,000. The judge added a new condition to Lanez’s release that he’s “not to mention the complaining witness in this case in any social media.” In October, a Los Angeles judge put Lanez under house arrest after he violated the conditions of his bail by allegedly assaulting rapper August Alsina in Chicago. Deadline reported that Lanez has not faced criminal charges over the incident.
Megan says Lanez told her, ‘Dance bitch’ before he started shooting at her.
In an April interview with CBS Mornings co-host Gayle King, Megan detailed the shooting publicly for the first time. She recounted that the argument started “because I was ready to go, and everybody else wasn’t ready to go,” calling it “normal friend stuff.”
When things escalated, Megan claimed she got out of the car, and that’s when the shooting started. “So I get out of the car, and it’s like everything happens so fast. And all I hear is this man screaming. And he said, ‘Dance, bitch.’ And he started shooting,” she said, through tears. “And I’m just like, Oh my God. Like, he shot a couple of times. And I was so scared.”
Megan clarified that Lanez was “standing up over the window shooting” and said she was afraid to move too quickly to get away. “I don’t know if he could shoot me and kill me.” Describing the physical shock of being shot, she said: “The adrenaline is pumping so hard — I’m not sure if he hit me. I feel it, but I don’t understand what’s happening. So I looked down at my feet. I’m like, Oh my God. Like, I’m really bleeding.”
In the interview, Megan again denied Lanez’s claims that the two had a sexual relationship prior to the incident, telling King that they were close friends who bonded over the deaths of their mothers. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Megan claimed Lanez apologized to her and Harris, offering them “a million dollars” in exchange for their silence.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Megan revealed that the night of the shooting she had surgery to remove bullet fragments in her feet and was in the hospital for four days before going home with two injured feet, incapable of walking. “Both of my legs wrapped up. I could not walk,” she said. “I was worried that I was not able to be Megan Thee Stallion no more.” The rapper is now able to walk again thanks to physical therapy, but she says she still has nightmares about the shooting.
Megan went on to say that she felt “shame” about her initial reaction to the shooting, noting that she lied to the police in an effort to protect the people she thought were her friends, though “that’s not how they thought of me.” She confirmed that she and Harris, her former best friend who was also in the car that night, were no longer close. According to the rapper, Harris met with Lanez days after the shooting because Meg wasn’t answering her phone and Harris felt her “back was against the wall.” Megan claimed that Lanez thanked Harris for not speaking about the shooting and immediately offered to invest in her business. “All I know was, from that day on, she never said nothing else about the whole situation online,” Megan said.
Speaking of the press coverage of the shooting, Megan said she felt like “the villain” in the story. “I don’t know if people don’t take it seriously because I seem strong. I wonder if it’s because of the way I look,” she said. “Is it because I’m not light enough? Is it that I’m not white enough? Am I not the shape? The height? Because I’m not petite? Do I not seem like I’m worth being treated like a woman?”
As for her hopes regarding Lanez, Megan said, “I want him to go to jail.”
Lanez’s trial began last December.
Opening statements began on December 12. According to tweets from the Los Angeles Times’ James Queally, during opening statements the prosecution shared plans to bring in texts and voice-mails allegedly sent by Lanez, including the one Megan previously claimed he sent her apologizing. Rolling Stone’s Nancy Dillon reported that Bott shared texts allegedly sent by Harris to Megan’s body guard minutes after the shooting, including one that read, “Tory shot Meg.” Per Queally, the prosecutor also claimed that Megan and Lanez got into an argument after she questioned his musical talent, which eventually escalated to the shooting.
The defense painted a different picture. Per Queally, Lanez’s attorney George Mgdesyan said in his opening statement that the incident actually began due to an argument between Megan and Harris. Mgdesyan claims that Harris was mad about an intimate relationship between Megan and Lanez. The defense attorney also reportedly alleged that Megan and Harris previously argued over romantic entanglements with Da Baby and Ben Simmons, and claimed that Megan and Harris had a physical fight at the scene of the shooting. Dillon also reported that Mgdesyan claimed that Lanez’s apology to Megan via phone call from jail was not for the shooting, but for “cheating on her.” Mgdesyan also claimed that Lanez’s DNA was not found on the gun and suggested that Harris could have been the shooter.
Megan testified that Lanez offered her $1 million not to tell anyone he shot her.
When asked if she was nervous after taking the stand, Megan told the court, “I can’t believe I have to come in here and do this,” per the Los Angeles Times. As she’s stated many times, Megan said that she, Lanez, his bodyguard, and Harris, were in the car after leaving a party at Kylie Jenner’s house when an argument broke out. In her testimony, Megan claimed that Lanez was angry that Megan had asked him to leave the party, and, along the way, told her to “stop lying” to Harris about their relationship. The Times reported that the rapper and Lanez were friends who occasionally had a sexual relationship, which Megan said Harris found out about at the time of the argument.
Megan also explained why she initially denied having a sexual relationship with Lanez.
As has previously been reported, Megan did not immediately tell the police that she had been shot — a decision she explained again on the stand. “At the time, we are at the height of police brutality,” she explained. “I felt like if I said this man has just shot me, they might shoot first and ask questions later.” She added that she didn’t “feel safe with the police officers.” Megan also told the court that she hesitated to speak about the shooting for fear that it might hurt her career. “This whole situation in the industry is like a big boys’ club,” she said, per Queally. “Like I’m telling on one of y’all friends, now you’re all about to hate me.”
According to Queally, Megan said that the argument escalated, with the two insulting each other’s careers before she was able to get out of the car. It was then that she said Lanez fired at her five times while yelling, “Dance, bitch.” “I’m in shock. I’m scared. I hear the gun going off. I can’t believe he’s shooting at me,” Megan said, per the Los Angeles Times. She also clarified that she never saw Harris holding a gun. She said she got back into the car and the group drove off before being stopped by police. She told the court that Lanez offered both her and Harris $1 million each if they didn’t report the shooting. (She said Lanez claimed that he was on probation at the time, though the Times reports he was not.)
Megan also explained why she initially denied having a sexual relationship with Lanez. “This whole story was about who I’m having sex with, and I don’t understand why that matters,” she said, explaining that she was embarrassed. “It’s disgusting at this point. How can I share my body with somebody who could shoot me?” The rapper also told the jury how difficult it has been for her to be “turned into some kind of villain,” saying that it has “messed up my whole life,” and testified that, two years later, she continues to have nerve damage. “I can’t really feel the side of my left foot,” she said, per NBC News. “The back of my feet are always sore, but I just push through it.”
During her testimony on Tuesday, Megan said that she regretted coming forward about the shooting. “I can’t even be happy,” she said. “I can’t hold conversations with people for a long time. I don’t feel like I want to be on this earth. I wish he would have just shot and killed me if I knew I would have to go through this torture.”
Kelsey Harris testified that she did not shoot Megan Thee Stallion.
Megan’s former friend and assistant, Kelsey Harris, also testified. After several attempts to assert her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, Harris was granted immunity for her testimony and took the stand. “I don’t care to be here today,” she told Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta, as reported by Rolling Stone. On the stand, Harris denied taking “hush money” and refuted the defense’s suggestions that she was the one who shot Megan, calling it “ridiculous.”
Harris told the court that she attended the party at Kylie Jenner’s house with Megan, whom she described as “drunk” and “a little off.” She also claimed that Lanez was flirting with Jenner at the party. Contrary to Megan’s version of events, Harris told the jury that she and the rapper initially left without Lanez but turned around because Megan said she had forgotten a “slipper” at the house. Harris said “apparently a fight or something happened,” because when Megan and Lanez came back to the car, “she was like, ‘Bitch, Kylie said we got to get the fuck out.’” According to Harris, whatever argument Megan and Lanez were having continued in the car and quickly escalated. “There was so much going back and forth, name-calling (between) me and Megan, Tory and Megan, Tory and me, Megan and Tory,” she said.
At one point during the questioning, Ta asked Harris if she recalled telling her in a previously recorded interview that Lanez had threatened to shoot her when they were all still in the car. While she acknowledged having made those statements, she did not want to elaborate, asking if she could “take my Fifth” when pressed about the details of the supposed threat. Later in her testimony, according to Rolling Stone’s Nancy Dillon, she said that she didn’t remember what she had said exactly, but “some of those things I stated, they weren’t accurate.”
In another deviation from her recorded interview — taped in September — Harris did not confirm that she saw Lanez holding a gun, per tweets from Queally. Law & Crime News reporter Meghann Cuniff reported that Harris also cast some doubt as to the nature of the $1 million Megan said that Lanez offered her to keep quiet. Though she admitted that $1 million was “mentioned” but hesitated to call it a “bribe.” When Ta asked if Lanez had offered her $1 million to “keep quiet,” she reportedly responded, “That’s not the exact wording.”
The judge denied witness tampering charges against Lanez.
After hearing from Megan and Harris, prosecutors attempted to bring two new charges against Lanez for witness tampering. The charges, per DDA Katy Ta, were based on Megan and Harris’ testimonies, in which they both claimed Lanez mentioned offers for $1 million. Per Rolling Stone, Judge David Herriford questioned why prosecutors waited to file charges, to which Ta responded that she was waiting to see if Harris’ testimony would support Megan’s. The motion to bring the two additional charges was denied, with the judge saying that it would be “unfair at this juncture.”
Justin Edison, Megan’s former bodyguard, was also supposed to testify but did not show up to court, according to Insider. “I can confirm that Justin Edison, Megan’s bodyguard, was set to testify in court, did not appear, and is now missing,” Megan’s attorney, Alex Spiro, told Insider. “Law enforcement is investigating the matter,” he added. Per ABC News, Edison was located during jury deliberations, and an attorney for his father told the outlet that the bench warrant for Justin had been recalled.
Lanez’s driver, Jauquan Smith, who was present at the time of the shooting, also did not testify, and neither did Lanez himself. According to Rolling Stone reporter Nancy Dillon, DDA Bott told the jury that the case was simple: “This is a case about a guy who shot a girl, people saw it, and then he apologized for it.” Mgdesyan, Lanez’s attorney, reportedly argued in his closing statement that Lanez was “trying to save” Megan from Harris, and cast doubt on Megan’s version of events. “My client is being falsely accused. Megan Pete is a liar,” he said, per Law & Crime.
Blogs falsely claimed that Lanez had been found not guilty as the jury began deliberations.
Jury deliberations began on December 22, but a few hours in, a handful of celebrity blogs claimed on social media that Lanez had been found not guilty of felony assault and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. The claim was quickly debunked and the outlets — which reportedly included No Jumper — deleted the tweets. This came a day after NBC News published an article highlighting the misinformation surrounding the case against Lanez.
Megan’s boyfriend, Pardison ‘Pardi’ Fontaine, showed his support on Instagram.
Megan Thee Stallion was notably quiet on social media throughout the trial, and has yet to address it on social media, but her boyfriend of two years, Pardi, made a public show of support via his Instagram Story. “To any women especially ones of color that has suffered an injustice I feel you,” he wrote. “When you do find the courage to speak up, it seems you will be ridiculed. Your credibility will be questioned. Your entire past will be held under a magnifying glass,” he continued. “In an instant you can go from victim to defendant in the eyes of the public.” Pardi did not mention Megan by name in his statement, but added, “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”
Lanez was found guilty and awaits sentencing.
After almost seven hours of deliberation, jurors returned Lanez’s guilty verdict on December 23, and the rapper — who had been free on bail following a period of house arrest — was immediately taken into custody, according to the New York Times. Though Lanez reportedly showed no reaction as the verdict was read, his father, Sonstar Peterson, leaped up and shouted, “This wicked system stands judged before God Almighty!,” and called two prosecutors “evil, wicked people.” An attorney for Lanez noted that the rapper’s legal team will be “exploring all options, including an appeal.”
Meanwhile, district attorney George Gascón praised Megan for coming forward with her initial allegations. “You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” he said in a statement. “You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face.”
This post has been updated.