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Tory Lanez insults reporter in final courtroom appearance for shooting Megan Thee Stallion
A judge on Thursday rejected Lanez's request to be released on bail pending appeal instead of beginning his 10-year prison sentence.
Rapper Tory Lanez will be transported from jail to a state prison soon after Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Herriford on Thursday rejected his motion for bail as he appeals his convictions and 10-year sentence for shooting Megan Thee Stallion.
Herriford cited three reasons for rejecting Lanez’s request: his conviction for a violent crime, his “history of violating court orders” and his non-U.S. citizenship that could lead to his deportation to Canada and “prevent him from coming back to court even if he wanted to.”
Lanez used his final courtroom moments to speak with his supporters and profanely insult me. I couldn’t hear him, but several people in the courtroom, including sheriff’s deputies, heard him say “googly eyed bitch” as he looked at me in the gallery. A Lanez loyalist also reported the insult on social media shortly after the hearing, writing, “#ToryLanez looked at Meghan [sp] Cuniff and called her a “googly eyed bitch” with a smile on his face and walked out of court.”
It was a fitting way to end a criminal case so rife with vitriol that Judge Herriford cited it when sentencing Lanez to 10 years in prison last month for shooting Megan in her feet and injuring her after they left a gathering at reality star Kylie Jenner’s Hollywood Hills home in July 2020. Herriford said Lanez’s post-shooting conduct, which included social media posts and song lyrics about Megan, was “a major factor in aggravation in this case.”
The judge at the time cited remarks from Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott, who said Lanez “engaged in a public disinformation campaign against the victim.”
Here are some of Bott’s remarks:
“He’s got over 12 million followers on social media. He painted Megan out to be a liar. He questioned that she was even shot. Questioned that she was even shot! And this had the effect of whipping up his legion of fans into a fury against Megan that caused her untold harm on a daily basis,” Bott said in August.
Lanez’s maintains his innocence, and his motion for bail reiterated that while promising Lanez if released will “have no contact with the victim nor shall he or any of his associates by his direction address her on social media or by other means.”
The motion was filed by Crystal Morgan, a lawyer for Unite the People, which provides legal services to incarcerated people. She appeared in court on Thursday with attorney Michael Raymond Hayden, who’s also with Unite the People. Hayden since March 2022, and Morgan has been a licensed attorney in California since February 2021.
Morgan said outside the courthouse that she plans to contest Herriford’s bail rejection as part of her appeal of Lanez’s convictions and sentence.
“This is just the first step in many of the appellate processes, as we all know,” Morgan said.
Attorney Ronda Dixon, who tried to join Lanez’s defense team before sentencing, also attended the hearing and joined Morgan and Hayden outside the courthouse.
A notice of appeal was filed to the 2nd District Court of Appeal last month, but Morgan said an opening brief that details Lanez’s arguments won’t be filed until early next year at the soonest.
Morgan said she and Hayden both will represent Lanez on appeal. Lanez was represented at sentencing by Jose Baez of Miami; Ed Welbourn of Newport Beach; and Matthew Barhoma of Los Angeles. None were in court on Thursday; Baez, however, indicated in an Instagram post that he’s still on the case.
“Sending my guy much love today. Even though I cant be there due to a prior commitment I’m praying for you,” Baez wrote.
Unite the People is a registered nonprofit that McDowell said “provides affordable services, which, he’s not a client that needs that,” referring to Lanez. McDowell said Lanez was “disproportionately sentenced” and Unite the People “fights for people who are disproportionately sentenced.” Lanez is on the Unite the People Board of Directors and has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover the organization’s payroll and to pay for legal fees for inmates and their families.
The approximately 15-minute hearing will be the last time Lanez appears in a courtroom at least through the duration of this appeal. The appellate process is mostly written briefs, and inmates are not transported to the appellate court for oral argument.
Lanez was at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles as of late Thursday, but he could be transported to a state prison by the end of the month. The 10-year sentence Judge Herriford imposed on Aug. 8 includes credit for 305 days served.
Thursday’s hearing began with Herriford announcing his “tentative” decision to deny bail and his reasons, then hearing argument from Morgan, followed by argument from Bott, who prosecuted Lanez with Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta.
Morgan emphasized that Lanez still has an active work visa, and his “immigration status has changed because his wife and his child are both U.S. citizens,” referring to his recent marriage to the mother of his child, Raina Chassagne. She said Herriford heard two days of remarks about “all of Mr. Peterson’s accolades,” reffering to Lanez’s legla name, Daystar Peterson, so the judge understands his attributes and knows that he appeared for each court date when out on bail and touring internationally, including visits to Dubai, Canada, Mexico, Asia and Europe.
“When he did go into house arrest, he never had violation of his ankle monitor,” Morgan said. Lanez’s house arrest stemmed from Lanez’s alleged assault of singer August Alsina, which Herriford specified was not a consideration at sentencing. Morgan did not detail her appellate plans but said Lanez’s motion for new trial previewed them.
“I think we will be able to really fully develop these arguments as we continue to build a case,” she said.
Prosecutors said the arguments didn’t account for Lanez’s propensity to flee.
“He has the resources and connections to be a significant flight risk,” Ta said. She also cited “the time he has been sentenced to.”
Regarding appellate arguments, Ta said Judge Herriford addressed the issues when he rejected Lanez’s motion for new trial and concluded there were “no errors, and even if there was some type of error, it’s harmless error.” Lanez grinned at the defense table and shook his head, apparently in disbelief.
Judge Herriford reminded the attorneys, “We’re in a different position now post-conviction” regarding standards for bail.
“The motion will be denied and the proceedings concluded. Thank you,” Herriford said.
That’s when Lanez stood and turned to the gallery. Again, I didn’t hear what he said, but his “googly eyed bitch” comment was heard by several others in the courtroom. It took me a few emails to confirm, but once I did I knew anything I posted about it would get tons of attention. And it did: The hip-hop blogs are all over this tea, and it appears the social media storm will rage into the weekend. It’s not the first time he’s mentioned me: His Instagram account posted a story in July instructing readers not to believe anything I report.
“Please disregard anything Megan Cuniff reports on Tory Lanez… her objective, perspective/narrative has always been negative and extremely biased towards him .. if there is an update on tory it will come from this page first .if it doesn’t come from this page . It’s not real .”
Look for another piece next week with links to all the Lanez case transcripts that I have, including the sentencing transcript. I’ll also have an article on character reference letters in sentencings, in relation to Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ letters for Danny Masterson.
I’ll also be live on YouTube today at noon PST / 3 p.m. EST to discuss this article and everything else I’m working on. I’ll take questions in the chat.
Because Megan does not get mentioned nearly enough in all my Lanez coverage, here’s my video of her entering the courthouse to testify against him on Dec. 13, 2022.
In other coverage:
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