Jurors in Los Angeles ruled Friday that rapper Tory Lanez was guilty of shooting hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion in her feet after a drunken argument on July 12, 2020—capping two years flush with finger-pointing and nasty online commentary.
The rapper was found guilty on all three counts: assault with a semiautomatic handgun, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
The verdict reportedly left Lanez’s family infuriated. After it was read out, his father jumped up and shouted that a “wicked system” was to blame, yelling at prosecutors, “You two are evil, wicked people. You know exactly what you did,” the Associated Press reports.
The jury, which was made up of seven women and five men, began deliberations late Thursday morning after Lanez’s defense made a final case that their client never fired a gun the night of the incident.
The verdict is a vindication for Megan, who maintained her story despite being branded a liar by many corners of the hip-hop and online world. It also puts Lanez’s career on life-support, as he now faces up to 22 years in prison and deportation back to his native Canada.
The trial painted a clearer picture into what happened the night of the shooting, which began with Lanez, 30, and Megan, 27, drinking together at a party hosted by Kylie Jenner.
Megan testified that Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, had an attitude because she made them leave the party early, which allegedly sparked a heated argument in an SUV.
Megan, whose legal name is Megan Pete, recalled in testimony that Lanez told her she “ain’t shit,” which prompted her to insult Lanez’s stature in the hip-hop industry.
That comment allegedly set him off but what followed was heavily debated both in the criminal trial this month, and online for two years.
Megan claimed that Lanez fired a handgun at her feet and shouted for her to “dance, bitch” as she walked away from the SUV. Lanez’s defense maintained that he never opened fire and that it was Megan’s best friend, Kelsey Harris, who pulled the trigger.
Megan testified that she needed surgery to remove bullet fragments from her feet, but explained that she didn’t call 911 initially out of fear that police may exacerbate the situation.
“At this time we are at the height of police brutality,” she testified, according to the Los Angeles Times. “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 had been the subject of vile comments from Lanez and others in the hip-hop community since the shooting, repeatedly called her a liar, even by Drake in his 2022 song “Circo Loco.”
“This bitch lie about getting shot but she still a stallion,” the song says—a microcosm of the misogyny Megan faced.
Coverage of the shooting by hip-hop blogs and online personalities also appeared to fixate on the personal life of Megan prior to the incident rather than the shooting itself.
Daily Loud, a popular online hip-hop platform, ran a viral video that accused Megan of having sex with his client, NBA player Ben Simmons, and rapper DaBaby—something completely irrelevant to Lanez’s trial.
Lanez’s lead defense attorney, George Mgdesyan, alleged that Megan fabricated the story to create a more sympathetic narrative. In reality, Mgdesyan insisted, Harris shot Megan in a bout of jealousy over her relationship with Lanez.
Mgdesyan claimed Lanez’s only involvement was him trying to stop the shooting.
“He was trying to protect her,” Mgdesyan said in closing arguments, according to BET.
Megan testified that she saw Lanez holding the gun just before he fired at her feet, and she said he later offered her $1 million in hush money to keep quiet about the incident.
A recorded interview was played for jurors that showed Harris identifying Lanez as the shooter.
But Mgdesyan alleged that Harris’ and Megan’s stories were aligned to pin the crime on Lanez. He argued that an insult over someone’s career would not cause someone to open fire, but jealousy between two women over a man would.
“What’s more likely to lead to a shooting?” he said.
In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott asked jurors to believe Megan’s anguish—evident in her emotional testimony—and her courage to fight through it.
“Megan does matter,” Bott said. “This case matters. Hold him accountable for shooting Megan over nothing more than a bruised ego.”