Tory Lanez was 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 and setting the stage for a potentially lengthy prison sentence.
On Friday, a jury in Los Angeles delivered its verdict (Dec. 23). Lanez was found guilty on all counts, including assault with a semiautomatic firearm, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and recklessly discharging a firearm. He could spend 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.
Throughout the trial, Lanez’s defense team did everything they could to cast doubt on who pulled the trigger, imagining Megan’s ex-friend and assistant Harris as the shooter. They relied 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, to make their case. Kelly, on the other hand, undermined the defense team’s theory by giving confusing and contradictory testimony from the stand on Tuesday, claiming he saw a muzzle flash near where Megan and Harris were scuffling in the street near his house, 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.
Prosecutors, on the other hand, have repeatedly emphasized Megan’s emotional testimony last week, when the Grammy winner held back sobs as she recounted the ordeal and said she’s received severe public backlash in the aftermath of the incident, saying at one point, “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 fired the gun, prosecutors questioned the defense team’s theory that Harris was to blame. Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott strongly suggested in closing arguments that Harris, who previously told prosecutors that Lanez shot Megan and assaulted her when she tried to intervene, contradicted her prior statements only after being threatened or paid off.
Megan was shot at least once in the foot in the early morning hours of July 12, 2020, on her way home from a small party thrown by Kylie Jenner. According to Megan, after a fight broke out between Lanez, Harris, and herself in an SUV driven by Lanez’s security guard Jaquan Smith, she exited the vehicle 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 reached their unanimous verdict in less than two days, chose to believe.
If Lanez or Smith had testified, the trial might have continued past Christmas, but on Wednesday, the rapper announced he would not be doing so, and the defense chose not to call Smith, citing procedural complications and the possibility of a delay that might have required the jury to reconvene after the holiday.
On Thursday, Megan was not present when the verdict was read.