January 31, 2023

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Tory Lanez guilty in Megan Thee Stallion shooting, jury finds

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Rapper Tory Lanez was convicted in the 2020 roadside shooting of Megan Thee Stallion, a Los Angeles jury announced Friday.

Lanez, whose legal name is Dester Peterson, was convicted of three felony firearm counts for an incident in which fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Peet, allegedly shot her in the leg after she left a Hollywood Hills party. Kylie Jenner’s home in 2020.

Prosecutors charged Peterson with one felony count each of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, negligent discharge of a firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. The Canadian rapper pleaded not guilty in November 2020 and faces up to 22 years in prison with possible deportation.

Pitt suffered wounds to his leg that he described to police at the scene as the result of broken glass, but later claimed were caused by Peterson’s gunfire. After the altercation, a surgeon who operated on Pete took the stand to confirm that the bullet fragment had been removed from his leg.

Peterson has repeatedly denied that he was the one who shot Pitt on July 12, 2020. The trial began on December 12 with testimony from Pitt himself, who claimed Peterson shot him in an emotional retelling of the roadside attack. He told the jury: “I would [Peterson] Shot me dead.” The defense argued that it was a case of jealousy between Pitt and his former friend and former assistant, Kelsey Harris, who both allegedly had a close relationship with Peterson.

Harris was described as a key witness for the prosecution, but on the stand she claimed she did not see or remember the circumstances of the shooting due to alcohol consumption that night and because she was dealing with anxiety and postpartum depression. He was not able to confirm with certainty that Peterson fired the gun.

Harris also told the court that her estranged friend Pete “painted pictures of me cheating on him.” Harris testified, “He painted the picture that I was this bad person, bad friend, that I took the money quietly. There were a lot of lies.” He vehemently denied claims that he was the one who shot Pitt amid speculation implied by Peterson’s defense team, who argued that their client’s DNA was not found on the weapon.

Furthermore, Harris denied hearing Peterson say the now-infamous line — “Dance, beach” — because he allegedly shot Pitt in the leg, which the Houston-born rapper has repeatedly claimed since Peterson was first charged with the crime in 2020.

During closing arguments, Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott reminded the jury that the case is about Pitt. As he cited his testimony, he displayed a photo of the rapper. “It seemed like every person in a position of power in the music industry, even people who weren’t even rappers, didn’t even care what my side of the story was,” Pete said.

Peterson’s attorney, George Mgdesian, told the jury “this case is about sex,” and claimed that the events of that night occurred because Pitt and Harris had a heated and drunken dispute about loyalty, since they were both allegedly sleeping with Peterson. Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta argued The case was about the shooting – not sex. He, like Bott, pointed to Pitt’s original testimony in which he said: “This whole story was not about the shooting. It’s just about who Tori is having sex with.”

The trial has engulfed the hip-hop industry and its media coverage since it began, much like the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial earlier this year engulfed the entertainment world, albeit on a smaller scale. On his latest album “Her Loss,” Drake made a reference to Pitt, saying “this bitch lie about taking ‘shots but she still a stallion.” Pete responded to Drake on Twitter, hitting back and writing, “Stop using my shooting for clout beach ass n—–! since when [the fuck] It’s good to joke about shooting women! You n—– especially RAP N—– lame! Ready to boycott shoes and clothes but dogs pile on a black woman when she says a boy from your house abused her.

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