All eyes are on Tory Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion as the two artists head to court for Lanez's trial.
On Monday, December 12, the trial over Lanez's felony assault charges stemming from Megan's shooting case began in Los Angeles. The prosecution opened the proceedings by alleging that Lanez screamed "Dance b***h!" at Megan in a drunken manner before he shot her five times in the feet, texted her an apology, and reportedly admitted it to his bodyguard. The Toronto native's defense has a different theory. Based on the first day of the trial, the defense aims to pin the blame on Kelsey Harris, the former best friend of Megan Thee Stallion.
Lanez's defense lawyer George Mgdesyan asserted that his client didn't pull the trigger despite both him and Harris testing positive for gunshot residue. In fact, the artist's defense team believe Harris shot Meg in fit of rage following the argument that occurred inside the black SUV they were all in that night. His client pleaded not guilty to three felony charges: assault with a firearm causing great bodily injury, concealing a loaded and unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and one count of discharging a firearm with gross negligence, which was added right before the proceedings began. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 22 years and eight months in prison plus face deportation back to Canada.
The trial is expected to last up to 10 days. With so much happening throughout the proceedings, it's hard to keep up. Here's everything that happened each day of the trial.
Tory Lanez entered the courthouse on December 12 while holding his young son's hand and his father behind him. During opening statements, Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Alexander Bott explained how Megan and Tory left a party at Kylie Jenner's house with Kelsey and Jauquan Smith as the driver in a black SUV. Following an argument that erupted inside the car, Meg asked to be let out in the residential area but didn't want to attract attention so she got back into the car. After she got closer to her home, she got out of the vehicle and started walking.
Bott confirmed for the first time that Kelsey Harris will testify that she saw Tory Lanez shoot Meg with a semiautomatic 9mm handgun. Her first-hand testimony would help the prosecution make their case, however, her participation has been scrutinized due to the fact that she's no longer on good terms with Meg. Bott also said that Tory pulled out the gun after Meg insulted his artistry and career. In addition, he revealed texts messages to Megan Thee Stallion's bodyguard Justin Edison that Harris sent on July 12, 2020. “Help,” Harris texted at 4:27 a.m., “Tory Shot Meg. 911." They also displayed text messages from Tory, who seemingly apologizes for what happened. They said that Edison and Megan herself would testify about the events that happened that night.
Meanwhile, defense lawyer George Mgdesyan claimed that no one but Megan heard Lanez say "Dance, b***h!". He also explained how Lanez and Megan left the party because the "Body" rapper was reportedly "jealous" that Lanez was hitting on Jenner in the pool. Mgdesyan also revealed that Corey Gamble, Kris Jenner's boyfriend, witnessed the beginning of their predicament unfold and will testify about what he saw. He also revealed that the argument in the car started because Lanez said he slept with both Kelsey and Meg. He also claimed the latter also slept with DaBaby and NBA star Ben Simmons.
As far as the shooting goes, Mgdesyan previously stated that he would introduce evidence that suggests Harris was the possible shooter. He argued that the former LAPD lead investigator Detective Ryan Stogner failed to test the gun for Harris' fingerprints after he learned that both Harris and Lanez tested positive for gunshot residue. He also dismissed the apologetic texts and claimed they were referring to the sexual relationships he had with both women, not the shooting.
Megan Thee Stallion was spotted entering the courthouse in an all-purple suit as dozens of supporters stood outside with a sign that read "We Stand With Megan." She was called to the stand at 11:15 a.m. according to Rolling Stone reporter Nancy Dillon and instantly seemed nervous about testifying. "I just don't feel good," she said. "I can't believe I have to come up here and do this." During her three-hour testimony, Megan admitted she initially lied about her sexual history with Lanez to investigators and media outlets because she was "embarrassed" and thought it wasn't relevant to the case at hand.
“This whole story was about who I’m having sex with, and I don’t understand why that matters,” she said, “Tory came out and told so many different lies, about me not being shot, about him not being the shooter, and making this all about a sex scandal."
Afterward, she also said that she wished Lanez had just killed her in lieu of having to deal with the stress of the trial. She continued by confirming Lanez met her at Kylie's party and that he refused to leave when she asked to. She left with Kelsey and driver Jauquan Smith but eventually came back to get a shoe and encouraged Lanez to leave with her. She said that's when he first started to cop an attitude.
“Tory says, ‘You need to stop lying to your friend.’ He had an attitude, and for whatever reason, he said, ‘You need to stop lying to your friend,’” Megan testified. “Because I knew Kelsey had a crush on Tory, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, and I didn’t want her to know that I had dealt with him in any kind of way. So he knew I didn’t want her to know that. I didn’t want anybody to know. Now Kelsey got an attitude because he was implying we were hiding something from her.”
Soon, the argument ensued and Megan didn't want any parts so she asked to be let out of the car on to Sunset Boulevard. She was only wearing a thong bikini at the time so she feared that she would be easily spotted. She got back into the car and they drove to Meg's house. By that time, the argument escaladed which led Tory to diss Meg. She returned fire by dissing his artistry and career, which allegedly set him off.
“I start walking away from the car, and I can hear Tory say, ‘Dance, b***h!’ I don’t have to turn all the way around. I didn’t have to use my feet to turn around,” she continued while showing the jury how she turned her head without moving her entire body. “I literally turned like this, and I could see him with the gun.”
Megan said she saw Tory point the gun at her before he fired five gunshots at her feet. She fell to the floor, saw the blood and crawled to a nearby driveway. She said things got "blurry" from there but she recalled hearing the rapper apologizing and offering $1 million for their silence. Everyone got back into the car and drove off but police pulled them over soon after. Meg said that she initially lied to police about the injury to protect herself and others from any potential police brutality.
Tory Lanez did not testify but he did take notes while his son sat behind him in a suit. Once the court was adjourned, he left with his son on his back.
On the third day of the trial, Kelsey Nicole Harris arrived to the courthouse. She was supposed to testify on behalf of the prosecution, but instead she began by invoking her Fifth Amendment right. She was granted "use immunity," which means the government may not use the witness' testimony, or evidence gained from it, against her. She eventually took the stand, but wasn't enthusiastic about testifying.
"I just don't want to be here," Harris said.
Harris initially hesitated when asked about her previous testimony in September, in which she said Lanez threatened to shoot her in the SUV. Although she confirmed she told police about the threat, she said she lied to police to "protect herself." Harris continued to claim that she couldn't recall vital details about that night. She said she didn't remember seeing Tory holding a gun or shooting Megan. The prosecution responded by playing numerous audio recordings of Harris saying the opposite for the jury.
“Some of those things I stated, they were not accurate," Harris said on the witness stand. "The night was a blur. We were under the influence."
Harris attributed her sudden loss of memory to post-partum depression, anxiety and the recent loss of a family member. Prosecutor Kathy Ta asked Harris about allegations that she was the one who shot Meg. "It’s ridiculous," she replied. Despite her hazy memory, she still refuted allegations that she fired the weapon at Meg. The rapper's former best friend and assistant also recalled the events that led up to the shooting.
She confirmed that she was at Kylie Jenner's house with Meg. However, in contraction to Meg's testimony, Harris said she and Meg initially left the property with Tory's driver but turned back to retrieve a "slipper" Meg left. That's when she claimed she saw Meg walk out with Tory. According to her account, Meg said that Kylie told them they had to go. That's when the argument erupted in the SUV.
“The argument that took place inside carried on,” she said. “There was so much going back and forth, name calling (between) me and Megan, Tory and Megan, Tory and Me, Megan and Tory.”
Then, Harris admitted that she and Tory hooked up before she caught COVID and went back to Houston. The argument happened because Tory blurted out that he had a relationship with both of them, which caused her and Meg to argue about disloyalty. She recalled Tory calling them "b***hes and hoes." That's when Prosecutor Kathy Ta reminded her of the testimony she gave in September, in which she talked about Tory's threat against her.
“What did he do, and what did he say?” Ta asked. “Can I take my 5th?” Harris replied.
Kelsey Harris is expected to return to the witness stand on Thursday morning.
According to NPR reporter Gaby Bulgarelli, the prosecution began day four of the trail with testimony from Megan's surgeon Dr. Lee Haruno. He testified about his report on the emergency surgery he performed on both of the rapper's feet following the shooting that night. He even asserted that there are still “foreign metallic bodies” in her feet today.
Afterward, Kelsey Harris returned to the witness stand to continue her testimony in court. Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta opened by asking Harris if she agreed that Meg was shot. She responded by claiming Meg's team told her she stepped on glass. After she appeared to recant her previous testimony about seeing Tory Lanez shoot Megan, asked Harris if the defense contacted her at all. She said no and blamed her recent memory loss to her previously stated ailments (post-partum depression, grief and anxiety).
When asked about her September testimony, Harris repeated her claim that she wasn't being completely honest, yet expected the court to believe her when she asserted that she didn't shoot Megan herself. Since Harris decided to backtrack on aspects of her testimony, Ta submitted text messages Harris sent to Megan on the night of the shooting.
“Should I get a scan at urgent care?" Harris reportedly wrote to Meg. "My chest is hurting... My left side, back & neck hurt, but that’s from the fighting & him dragging me out of the car by my hair.”
The defense objected and tried to keep it out but the judge allowed it since Harris also reversed course on the claim that Tory allegedly assaulted her during the incident. During their cross-examination, Tory's lawyer George Mgdesyan asked if she was bribed by his client. She denied it again, and wanted "to make that very clear." She was asked if the defense pressured her at all. She said no, but when asked the same question about the prosecution, she was quick to respond "Yes." Mgdesyan then asked if she got into a physical fight with Meg. Harris said they bumped into each other but couldn't remember what exactly happened. She also denied hearing Lanez say "Dance, b***h."
Mgdesyan also cited Harris' 2020 diss track "Bussin Back" aimed at Meg. He repeated the lyrics saying "Who I'm taking shots at? Bitch, I'm busting you" and asked if she remembered rapping those bars. It was the first time lyrics had been used as evidence during the trial. After Harris made her exit, the prosecution also entered a screenshot of an Instagram comment from Tory Lanez's verified account that said "That's not true." It was in response to another user's comment that alleged Harris was the shooter.
The next witness was criminalist Stacy Vanderschaaf, who analyzed the gunshot residue kits from the scene. Vanderschaaf told the jury about the GSR analysis process. Before court adjourned for the day, Judge Herriford confirmed that the jury would be allowed to hear Harris' entire testimony from September. It will be played during tomorrow's session.
It was another eventful day in the courtroom as jurors got to hear most of Kelsey Harris' initial interview with prosecutors from September. In it, Harris said that Tory made a threat to shoot someone and even attempted to grab a weapon from the center console of the black SUV but didn't reveal it. She also confirmed that the argument that happened right before the shooting was about their respective careers. She also said that she did see Tory Laez shoot the gun and that he physically assaulted her afterward.
Later on, the prosecution called on LAPD criminalist Randy Zepeda to the witness stand. He testified that Tory Lanez's DNA was not found on the magazine that was used, but the results on the gun came back "inconclusive." Zepeda also said that the DNA found on the magazine had at least four sources with two being males. The DNA on the gun was also from four people including one male. A witness from the defense, Marc Scott Taylor, corroborated that four people's DNA was found on the gun, however, it wasn't the same four people's DNA that was found on the magazine. Taylor also agreed that it was hard to determine if Lanez's DNA was on the gun or not. Since Lanez's DNA was the only one that was collected from the LAPD, it's unclear to determine who actually fired the weapon.
Meanwhile, Justin Edison, Meg's former bodyguard, reportedly "went missing" after he failed to show up for his scheduled testimony. Deputy District Attorney Bott asked the judge to release a "body attachment" (which is like a warrant) for Edison. So far, the LAPD is aware of Edison's disappearance but they haven't opened a missing person's case just yet.
With Edison still MIA, other witnesses like Officer Sandra Cabral, investigator Jody Little and Meg's former stylist Eric Culberson aka EJ King were called to the stand. According to NPR's Louder Than a Riot, Cabral spoke on the footage taken from the responding officer's bodycams, which shows her cuffing Kelsey Harris. Footage from another officer's bodycam also shows Meg seated and cuffed on the ground before she gets up and limps past Harris. Her former assistant, who was "distraught" and "crying" that night, can be heard asking the rapper if she's ok. Meg responds "Yeah." Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta also submitted a photo of the left passenger side of the black SUV.
"Would it elevate someone?" Ta asked Cabral. "Correct," she replied.
Defense attorney Mgdesyan asked Cabral if she heard any conversation between Harris and Tory. She said no and said she only saw him with his head down. After she left the stand, Jody Little was called on to talk about the lyrics in Kelsey Harris' diss track "Bussin' Back." The song was introduced into evidence last week by the defense, but the prosecution decided to focus on lyrics like "(Who shot ya?) 'Cause you know it wasn't me/I was 10 toes down whenever you had beef." That's when things started getting more intense in the courtroom.
EJ King was the final witness of the day. His testimony was notable because he hadn't been interviewed by police or the prosecution. He was subpoenaed by the defense to speak on the events that transpired at Kylie Jenner's party before the shooting. Mgdesyan began by asking King how he, Meg and Kelsey protect themselves when they move without security. He said that they have tasers and mace but couldn't recall any other weapons. That's when he asked if King has ever seen a gun in either of their possession.
"Possibly... but it's not my business," he responded.
After confirming that he, Meg and Kelsey stayed at Kylie's longer than the other guests. He recalled an attempt made by Corey Gamble, Kris Jenner's boyfriend, to end the party before Tory Lanez arrived. He also said that he encouraged Meg to leave after he realized she was a little drunk.
King then corroborated Harris' account of passing out in a room where their luggage was stored. Since he packed Meg's bag, he was asked if he saw a gun in there. He couldn't recall seeing one. He also testified that he loaded all of their luggage in the black SUV before Meg and Kelsey left with Tory's driver without Tory at first. He left the party in his own car, and is still irratated that he left first. He said "Tory wasn't a plan" and that he always drove them home. Afterward, King testified to his thoughts on Tory's character.
After King's testimony, the prosecution tried to add two more charges two additional new felony counts of intimidating a witness for trying to bribe Meg and Kelsey with $1 million for their silence. The judge denied their attempt and said that while they can make a new case for to address those issues, they cannot add more charges while the trial is in session.
The jury spent most of the day hearing testimony from the defense's eyewitness Sean Kelly. Kelly didn't use any names but he said he saw the violent brawl that went down right before Megan Thee Stallion was shot. According to Kelly's version of events, he was woken up by the sounds of two women arguing. The argument then grew into a physical fight. At that time, the driver, Jauquan Smith, tried to intervene and split up the fight before "a smaller man" hopped out of the vehicle and joined in on the melee as well.
At one point, Kelly said he saw one of the women go back to the car followed by a muzzle flash. He said that the smaller man successfully took something from the woman and then saw him fire four to five shots in the air. He did not say anything about hearing "Dance b***h" prior to the shots fired at Meg. Then he said that three of them surrounded the woman on the ground and beat her. Kelly described how they picked her up from the ground. He thought that they were going to through her in the nearby river but took her across the street instead and placed her in the vehicle.
During cross-examination, Kelly told the prosecution that he was focused on protecting his son at the time of the shooting and said that he "never saw a gun." Officer Rogelio Diaz and Ryan Stogner were also called to the witness stand by the defense. Stogner testified that he did not ask Megan anything about how much she drank that night nor did she tell him about the fight that happened between her and Harris. LAPD criminalist and DNA specialist Raymond Zepeda also returned to the stand to clarify that, although the DNA results were inconclusive on the gun, it did not suggest that a "female" was one of the four contributors.
The possibility of Tory Lanez taking the witness stand has gone down significantly. After Kelly finished his testimony, the prosecution reportedly told the judge that they planned to ask him not only about the night in question but also his past rap lyrics, previous arrests and other recent events that may or may not have to do with the case at hand.
Tory Lanez confirmed that he will not take the witness stand at all. Following his decision, the defense and the prosecution have rested. The jury will hear closing arguments from both sides before they deliberate on their verdict.
During the closing arguments, Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott kicked things off by quoting key statements from Megan Thee Stallion's testimony.
"This is a case about a guy who shot a girl, people saw it and then he apologized for it," Bott said.
Bott also referred to Kelsey Harris' 911 text to Meg's former bodyguard Justin Edison that asked for help. The defense began his argument by urging the jury to reject Meg's testimony because she "lied" about stepping on the glass and her sexual relationship with the defendant. He also argued that his client was "trying to save" Meg and pointed to Kelsey's use of the Fifth Amendment.
"If Kelsey had no reason to invoke (her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination), do you think this judge would let her invoke?" Lanez's lawyer George Mgdesyan said.
Bott reiterated that Kelsey is not the one on trial.