Tory Lanez's Appeal for a New Trial Rejected by Judge

Tory Lanez's lawyers argued their motion for a new trial three months after he was found guilty on three counts.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Herriford rejected Tory Lanez's appeal for a new trial, almost five months after he was found guilty of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle on Dec. 23.

The rapper's lawyers filed a motion for a new trial on March 29, arguing that he was deprived of a fair trial. 

Lanez's sentencing is scheduled for June 13; his lawyers can appeal his conviction and sentencing to the California Court of Appeals once he's sentenced.

The case continues more than two years after Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Pete, accused the rapper of shooting her in the feet as they were leaving a party in July 2020.

According to reporting by Rolling StoneJose Baez and Matthew Barhoma cited multiple grounds for the appeal, including a claim that the judge "erroneously allowed" jurors to view a September 2020 Instagram post from Lanez's personal account claiming Megan's now-estranged best friend, Kelsey Harris, was not the shooter.

The motion also alleged that the prosecution interfered with Lanez's right to counsel with a line of questioning to Harris, a key witness, regarding accusations that Lanez tried to bribe Harris. In September 2022, Harris had a lengthy interview with investigators, but backtracked parts of her testimony during the trial, citing anxiety and postpartum depression for her inconsistency. 

Baez reportedly claims prosecutors used a photo showing Lanez's chest tattoo of a firearm to insinuate to the jury that the rapper has a fondness for guns and "impermissibly chilled" his right to testify by ruling that if he testified, the state could introduce his rap lyrics and a music video under cross-examination.

In response, the prosecution said the motion lacked substance and the guilty verdict should stand, according to NBC News. "Despite being nearly 80 pages long, the defendant has failed to cite a single instance of error in the trial court," the prosecutors wrote in their response.

On April 10, Judge Herriford rescheduled the hearing after Lanez's lawyers said they wanted time to respond to prosecutors' opposition. Deputy District Attorney Alex Bott reportedly told journalists, "It looks like now they want to raise some new issues that weren't originally addressed in their motion."

Megan first accused Lanez, 30, of shooting her in the feet in August 2020, sharing that the assault occurred after a pool party at the home of Kylie Jenner in July of that year. Lanez was officially charged in October 2020 and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial got underway on Dec. 12 in Los Angeles. In opening statements, the prosecution argued that the shooting was a result of Lanez's bruised ego after Megan criticized his musical career, allegedly firing toward her feet as she walked away from the car they had both been riding in along with Kelsey Harris -- Megan's best friend and assistant at the time. The defense has disputed that Lanez fired the shots, suggesting it had been Harris wielding the gun, whom they claimed was upset that Megan and Lanez had been intimate with each other.

Several witnesses took the stand to testify, including Megan, Harris, and the 9-1-1 caller from the night of the shooting. 

When Megan, 28, testified on day two of the trial, she recounted her relationships with Lanez and Harris, telling the court that she and Lanez had become friends and bonded over the shared loss of their mothers in the months before the shooting. They also occasionally had a sexual relationship, which Harris learned for the first time inside that SUV.

Megan criticized Lanez's "musical skills," which she says led to the altercation. 

"Tory was basically telling me I wasn't s**t, and I said, 'Actually, You ain't s**t. This is where you at in your career. This is where you at with your music.' And I feel like that really rubbed him the wrong way. He kept yelling and cursing," she said, according to Rolling Stone.

Megan told jurors that Lanez allegedly promised each woman $1 million if they did not tell police about the incident, claiming he was on probation for a prior weapons offense.

When asked why she didn't initially report the shooting, Megan reiterated her previous assertion that she wanted to protect everyone involved, especially after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

"This was at the height of police brutality... I felt like if I said this man just shot me, I didn't know if they might shoot first and ask questions later," she testified. She also noted how "in the Black community... it's not really acceptable to be cooperating with police officers."

Megan said her reasoning was two-fold because, as a woman in the music industry, "people have a hard time believing you anyway."

"I'm having a really difficult time sitting up here comfortably telling my story," Megan told the court. "I've got to sit across from Tory ... I'm really trying to come off as a strong woman. I don't want to give them the power they've been taking from me going on three years."

Lanez is facing more than 20 years in prison and potential deportation.