Tory Lanez faced three charges- one count of assault with a semi-automatic firearm in a manner to inflict bodily injury, one count of carrying a concealed, loaded, and unregistered firearm, and discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner to cause bodily injury. The Canadian singer/rapper was found guilty on all three charges.
In opening statements, the prosecution said that Tory Lanez shot Megan Thee Stallion, and there are witnesses that will testify to that. In their arguments, the defense said that another person shot her- hinting that her best friend Kelsey Harris was the one.
The two-week trial is among one of the most watched trials in the hip-hop industry in recent times mainly because it involves two big-name rappers who are also well-connected and has caused a divide in the industry among their respective supporters.
The trial had many twists and turns, with Megan Thee Stallion taking the stand in the first week where she, for the first time, admitted publicly that she and Tory had a sexual relationship, a statement that is at odds with what she told Gayle King during a tell-all earlier this year.
Megan’s testimony addressed mainly her relationship with Tory and what happened the night of the shooting, and her relationship with her best friend Kelsey Harris during the shooting and afterward as the women appeared to become enemies.
During her testimony, Megan said that she and Tory had an argument that led to him telling Kelsey that he and Megan were sexually involved, which led to Harris becoming upset with her since she had a crush on Tory. Megan and Tory continued to argue, and later, she said she insulted his career and told him that she was bigger and more famous than him, which led to him shooting her.
According to her, she had gotten out of the SUV they were in and walking away when Tory fired five shots at her and shouted, “dance, b*tch!”
“I’m in shock. I’m scared. I hear the gun going off and I can’t believe he’s shooting at me. “[Lanez] looked shocked. Kelsey looked shocked. JaQuan [the driver/Lanez security] looked shocked,” Megan said.
One of the key points of her testimony under cross-examination was the reason she lied about being shot- saying she had stepped in glass and not immediately named Tory as the shooter until weeks later.
The rapper said, “At this time we are at the height of police brutality… I felt if I said this man had shot me, they might shoot first and ask questions later. I don’t feel safe in the car. I don’t feel safe with the police.”
Megan also testified that Tory offered her and Kelsey $1 million in bribes to keep quiet. Her statements on the stand seemed to hint that she and Kelsey fell out because Kelsey took that money and did not take her side.
Kelsey Harris also appeared as a prosecution witness, but her testimony arguably left questions unanswered as she requested and was granted use immunity on the stand. She persistently invoked her 5th amendment rights not to answer certain questions- even ones that implicated Tory.
On the stand, Kelsey did not outrightly deny that she took hush money from Tory, and she also could not remember if Tory paid for her attorney, although she did remember that he had offered to pay. Harris also seemed to remember many minute details about the night of the shooting, including that Megan’s wig was slipping off, but all questions about Tory she didn’t know but couldn’t remember.
In closing arguments, the prosecution plainly called Kelsey a liar but offered to the jury that she was not the shooter. On Wednesday (Dec 21.), during closing arguments, Deputy D.A Alexander Bott spoke about the key pieces of evidence that point to Tory as the shooter, including text messages she sent to Megan’s bodyguard shortly after the shooting that read, “Help” “Tory shot meg” “911.”
The prosecutor also offered that Harris couldn’t have been trying to frame Tory because if so, why did he call her from jail to apologize and also later offer her hush money?
There is also a key piece of evidence- blood stains on Harris from Megan’s bleeding feet that Kelsey put on her lap after the rapper was shot right before police pulled over the car they were in.
“Those are the actions of a best friend. That’s how a best friend would react upon seeing their best friend shot,” the deputy D.A. said.
The prosecutor also told the jury that Kelsey was “compromised” as her testimony differed from that of her 80-minute statement to police back in September, where she described the events of the night and plainly stated that Tory shot Megan.
“Something spooked her. Something got to her. Maybe she took one of those bribes,” Bott said as he mentioned her obvious deflection on the stand as “courtroom amnesia” regarding Lanez’s conduct.
In the meantime, although Kelsey’s interview didn’t go as planned for the prosecution as she appeared to be a not-credible witness introducing the tiny bit of doubt that a defense needs to usurp a criminal trial, the case took a convincing turn for the prosecution with the testimony of defense witness, Sean Kelly.
Kelly, a resident from Nichols Canyon Road, shook the table when he testified that he saw the shooting but claimed that Kelsey was also shot as he saw a muzzle flash from next to her first, then several more as Tory emerged from the car- lending some credence to Megan’s testimony that Tory leaned over the front door of the escalade and shot her.
On the stand, Kelly said Lanez was “firing everywhere” and fired “four to five” rounds at a woman. He also shared that he saw three people, now identified as Tory, Kelsey, and Tory’s bodyguard Jaquan beating the one woman on the ground before the driver said police were coming, and they picked up the woman and put her in the car.
Over the course of the trial, many fans of Lanez believed that Tory was seeing both Megan and Kelsey, and in a jealous rage, Kelsey shot her. His fans also discredited Megan’s claims, with some boldly claiming that she wasn’t shot and that she was framing Tory as she didn’t immediately name him as her shooter, only after he had made a diss track referencing the shooting.
As for Kelsey, she too released a diss track for Megan, but in the song, she appeared more hurt that Megan did not stick up for her as Megan’s fans trashed both Kelsey and Tory. The latter also claimed he was blackballed in the industry and his music shadow banned from DSPs.
In the meantime, sentencing is not yet set, but Tory Lanez is facing up to 22 years in prison.