LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge is expected to sentence Tory Lanez Monday for shooting Grammy-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion, a case that has been closely watched by fans of both musicians for nearly three years.
Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, faces a maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months in prison if he is awarded the maximum sentence on each charge, served consecutively. He could also be deported to Canada after the time served.
Sentencing, which was originally scheduled for January, has been rescheduled twice and Lanez has retained new attorneys since his December conviction. The judge is expected to first hear a request for an appeal from Lanez’s lawyers on Monday.
The case stems from an altercation between Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, in July 2020 as they were leaving a party in the Hollywood Hills.
Police were called to the scene following reports of a fight that took place in an SUV.
Weeks after the incident, Megan Thee Stallion stated on her Instagram that she had been shot, eventually identifying Lanez as the shooter.
She testified under oath that Lanez had shot her in the foot, though she initially told police officers that she had cut herself on broken glass.
“I couldn’t walk for a while,” he testified. “I still have nerve damage. I can’t really feel the side of my left foot. The backs of my feet always hurt, but I just push myself.»
Lanez, who has pleaded not guilty, refused to testify in his own defense. Yet he devoted an entire album to refuting Megan Thee Stallion’s version of events.
A jury convicted him in December of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence and carrying an unregistered loaded firearm in a vehicle.
Lanez’s legal team filed an appeal for a new trial, alleging that the prejudicial evidence was wrongly entered into evidence, according to a copy of the motion obtained by NBC News.
Concerns with forensic evidence, the late inclusion of Instagram posts and damaging photos of Lanez’s gun tattoo were among the appeals issued by Lanez’s new attorney, Matthew Barhoma.
The motion also alleges that the prosecution interfered with Lanez’s right to counsel with a line of questioning of a key witness, Kelsey Harris, regarding allegations that Lanez attempted to bribe Harris. In September 2022, Harris had a lengthy interview with investigators but recanted parts of his testimony during the trial, citing anxiety and postpartum depression, due to his inconsistency.
Although prosecutors conceded that Lanez’s former attorney, Shawn Holley, was not involved in the alleged bribery attempt at the time of Harris’ interview, the state «opted to wait until mid-trial to bring the exact same allegations against Lanez.» attorney,» the motion says. saying.
As a result, Holley withdrew from Lanez’s legal team, according to the motion.
Barhoma did not respond to requests for comment.
The prosecutor’s office filed a response to the appeal on Thursday, saying the motion lacked substance and the guilty verdict should stand. It also included a memo from Holley to the court dated January 10, in which he explained that he had to drop the lawsuit due to out-of-state arbitration.
«The evidence presented at trial was properly admitted, and the allegations of errors and violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights are without merit,» the prosecution said. «The verdict reached by the jury was based on credible evidence and was supported by the law.»
Similar to other celebrity trials, the shooting case was the subject of significant commentary and speculation on social media. Megan Thee Stallion fans pointed out that many people defending Lanez were perpetuating “misogyny,” or specific misogyny against black women where sexism and racism intersect.
Lanez’s legal defense also relied on the concept, claiming that Megan Thee Stallion falsely accused him out of jealousy. Her lawyer claimed that she and Harris, who was also in the car the night of the shooting, had argued about him and other men.
Popular bloggers and entertainment sites have also fed misinformation about the case, experts told NBC News.
In September, Megan Thee Stallion condemned the comment that appeared on blogs and Twitter, writing: «It may be fun for all of you on the internet and just another complicated topic for you to talk about, but this is my real life and I am hurt and traumatized in real life.»
Alicia Victoria Lozano and Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles and Doha Madani from New York.