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Judge delays hearing on Tory Lanez's motion for new trial over shooting of Megan Thee Stallion
The jailed rapper is to return to court next Monday, but prosecutors don't believe Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Herriford will rule on the motion then.
A judge on Monday delayed to next week a hearing on rapper Tory Lanez’s motion for new trial over the 2020 shooting of Megan Thee Stallion after Lanez’s lawyers said they want to submit new information.
Lanez is scheduled to return to Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David J. Herriford’s courtroom next Monday at 8: 30 a.m., but Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott said the motion likely still won’t be considered then because prosecutors will want more time to respond.
Lanez’s new post-trial lawyers, the famed Jose Baez of Miami, Florida, and Matthew Barhoma of Los Angeles, exited the courthouse through a throng of media. Baez declined to comment on the motion for new trial but indicated he has no plans to relocate to Los Angeles.
“I’ve got it made right near the water,” Baez said.
Bott said he and Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta were “ready to go” and are “disappointed by the continuance.” He told reporters outside the courtroom that Judge Herriford was ready to rule on Lanez’s motion, which was filed March 29, with prosecutors filing their opposition last Thursday.
“He just wants to make sure he gives the defense the full opportunity to be heard,” Bott said of Judge Herriford.
The judge announced the delay after taking the bench about 10:54 a.m. Sheriff’s deputies brought Lanez into the courtroom handcuffed and chained and wearing orange jail garb with a black cap. He took a seat at the defense table alongside Baez and Barhoma. His courtroom supporters included his father and stepmother, who repeatedly declined comment when approached after the hearing.
Legal name Daystar Peterson, 30-year-old Lanez has been in jail since a Los Angeles County jury convicted him on Dec. 23 of of felony assault with a semi-automatic firearm, discharge of a firearm with gross negligence and having a concealed and unregistered firearm in a vehicle. Jurors also found that he caused Megan great bodily harm.
He faces up to 22 years and eight months in prison at sentencing. After court on Monday, Bott told reporters that sometimes sentencings happen the day a motion for new trial is rejected, but in this case prosecutors and Lanez’s lawyers will want to file briefs outlining their sentencing positions. He said he expects Megan to submit a victim impact statement “in some form,” meaning she may not appear in person.
The convictions followed a nine-day trial in which Lanez’s trial lawyer, George Mgdesyan, argued the rapper is wrongly accused when it was actually Megan’s now-former best friend, Kelsey Nicole Harris, who shot her early July 12, 2020. Mgdesyan said the women were fighting over their dual romantic interest in Lanez, and Megan was upset with Lanez for spending time with reality star Kylie Jenner in the swimming pool at her Hollywood Hills home. The three were leaving Jenner’s home when Lanez’s driver stopped the Escalade they were in and someone fired five rounds at Megan after she exited.
Lanez was first arrested on a gun charge after Los Angeles police stopped the Escalade on Hollywood Boulevard after a report of gunfire.
Megan, bleeding from her feet, was taken to a hospital by ambulance, while Harris, was taken to a police station with Lanez and his driver, Jaquan Smith. Megan had bullet fragments in her feet, according to testimony and medical records, some of which were removed by surgeons and some that still remains. She told police at the time that she merely stepped on glass, but she spoke with investigators four days later and said Lanez had actually shot her.
Key evidence in trial included a recorded, apologetic phone call Lanez made from jail to Harris hours after the shooting as she waited for Megan at the hospital, text messages Harris sent Megan’s bodyguard after the shooting that implicated Lanez and apologetic texts Lanez sent Megan after her got out of jail on the gun charge.
A recording of an 80-minute interview Harris gave prosecutors also was played for jurors in its entirety after Mgdesyan repeatedly implied in his questioning of Harris that prosecutors had wrongly pressured her to incriminate Lanez and save herself.
Lanez parted ways with Mgdesyan after trial and hired veteran lawyer David Kenner, who got Snoop Dogg acquitted of murder in 1996. But Kenner is defending Pras Michel in a federal criminal trial in Washington, D.C., so Baez and Barhoma have taken over Lanez’s representation. Mgdesyan was in the hallway outside Herriford’s courtroom talking with Barhoma before the hearing began.
Lanez’s motion for new trial argues Judge Herriford wrongly allowed prosecutors to use as evidence an Instagram comment from Lanez’s account that said “that’s not true” in regards to Harris being the shooter. The motion also argues among other issues that prosecutors overinflated the inconclusive DNA evidence found on the gun used in the shooting and that Harris’ pre-trial interview with prosecutors should not have been played for the jury. Prosecutors say all the arguments are legally baseless.
Lastly, please enjoy this close-up photo of Baez’s leather backpack.
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