A judge has granted Tory Lanez’s latest request to postpone his criminal trial in the alleged shooting of Megan Thee Stallion.
via: Rolling Stones
Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, appeared for the hearing, agreed to the continuance and left the courtroom shortly before key eyewitness Kelsey Harris was brought in so the judge could order her to return Dec. 9 under a subpoena from prosecutors.
Harris was riding in the SUV with Megan and Peterson the night of the alleged firearm assault but has been mysteriously mum about disputed details in the high-profile case. The judge said she must remain on stand-by as a possible prosecution witness following jury selection now due to begin Dec. 5.
The long-awaited trial had been set to start as early as Wednesday, or within 10 days, but Judge David Herriford granted Peterson’s request for delay – over the objections of prosecutors – because his defense lawyer Shawn Holley is tied up with the confidential arbitration of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer. (Holley is also representing Danny Masterson in his serial rape trial set to begin Oct. 11.)
The fact that prosecutors subpoenaed Harris signals they believe that either her testimony, or statements she made to investigators in the direct aftermath of the shooting, would support a conviction. Harris has been a bit of a wildcard in the closely watched case because she and Megan were self-proclaimed best friends before the alleged July 2020 assault but have since become estranged.
“They’re keeping their options open,” Lou Shapiro, a defense lawyer not affiliated with the case, tells Rolling Stone, referring to the prosecution subpoena. “One way or another, they believe she could be beneficial to their case.”
In a recent Rolling Stone cover story, Megan, born Megan Pete, said she believes Harris accepted money from Peterson shortly after the assault. The “Body” rapper claimed Harris met Peterson at a hotel just two days later, while Megan was still in the hospital.
“I’m like, ‘Kelsey, as my best friend, why would you meet up with the person you saw shoot your best friend?’” Megan told Rolling Stone’s Mankaprr Conteh. Harris purportedly told Megan she felt her “back was against the wall,” and she “didn’t know what to do.”
“What the fuck do you mean your back is against the wall? You’re the only person in this situation that would clear this up for me,” Megan said.
According to Megan, Peterson purportedly told Harris, “Oh, thank you for not saying nothing. Now let me invest in your business. Let me do this. Let me do that.” From then on, Harris has not given a public account of her version of what happened, Megan said.
Beyond the alleged assault, prosecutors likely would question Harris about the recorded jail call that Peterson made to her just hours after the shooting. The rough contents of the call were revealed at Peterson’s probable cause hearing last December.
“The defendant continued to apologize for the incident that occurred. He told Kelsey basically that he was drunk, and he was sorry for what he had done,” LAPD Det. Ryan Stogner testified at the hearing, saying he personally reviewed the jail call.
Under cross-examination, Stogner said he was aware that Megan and Harris had been close friends for about seven years but apparently “stopped their friendship” shortly after the shooting.
Peterson’s lawyer, Shawn Holley, grilled Stogner in a way that spun an alternative narrative involving the verbal dispute that led up to the shooting. Holley claimed the “argument in the car escalated” because Peterson said he and Megan had been in some type of intimate relationship. Holley said Harris “had a romantic interest in Tory” and became upset, claiming that Megan “back-doored” her.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Megan said Peterson was never her boyfriend. Instead, she said they were close friends who bonded over the losses of their mothers. She was adamant Peterson shot her and deserved consequences.
“I feel like you’ve already tried to break me enough. You’ve already shot me. So, why are you dragging it out like this? Like, what else? Have you hated me this much the whole time and I didn’t see it?” Megan said, addressing Peterson directly.
“I want him to go to jail,” Megan told Rolling Stone in the series of revealing interviews leading up to the cover story published online in June. “I want him to go under the jail.”
Los Angeles County prosecutors clearly believe Megan is telling the truth about the incident that unfolded in the predawn hours of July 12, 2020, following a night of partying at Kylie Jenner’s house.
At the probable cause hearing, Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta carefully walked Det. Stogner through his interviews with Megan to explain why the rapper initially told police she had stepped on glass. Stogner said Megan lied at first because she was scared. (He said medical records from Cedars-Sinai Hospital confirmed doctors found bullet fragments in both of Megan’s feet.)
“She said that at the time she was extremely scared and embarrassed, and due to the fact that she was friends with the defendant, she was scared that he was going to get in trouble, and she also expressed some concerns regarding the political climate regarding police and shootings,” Stogner testified. “She was afraid that there had been recent police shootings, and she described her concern about the police possibly shooting the defendant since he had just committed a shooting.”
Peterson was arrested near the scene of the shooting on suspicion of possessing a concealed firearm in a vehicle. He was released hours later after posting his $35,000 bail. Megan was initially vague about what happened but finally named Peterson as her assailant more than a month later in an Instagram post.
“Tory shot me. You shot me, and you got your publicist and your people going to these blogs, lying and shit,” she said in a video posted Aug. 20, 2020. “Stop lying. Why lie? I don’t understand. I tried to keep the situation off the internet, but you’re dragging it.”
She said, “Even though he shot me, I tried to spare him. And ya’ll motherfuckers is not sparing me. That’s crazy.”
Peterson, 30, was formally charged on Oct. 8, 2020, with felony assault with a semiautomatic firearm, personal use of a firearm, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle and inflicting great bodily harm. He pleaded not guilty on Nov. 18, 2020 with his bail set at $190,000. At the time, prosecutors said he was facing a maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months in prison if convicted as charged.
Peterson’s bail was hiked to $250,000 in September 2021 after a judge found he violated the stay-away order prohibiting him from coming within 100 yards of Megan or harassing her in any way. Prosecutors said he attended the Rolling Loud Festival in Miami in July 2021 and “attempted to rush the stage” while Megan was performing. Disguised in a costume, he also hopped onstage with DaBaby while Megan was still in the venue and her song “Cry Baby” was playing, prosecutors said in their bail motion obtained by Rolling Stone.
Peterson’s bail was increased again in April, to $350,000, after a judge found the “SKAT” rapper violated protective orders prohibiting him from harassing Megan or discussing discovery in the case with outside parties.
During an emotional sit-down interview with CBS News’ Gayle King that aired April 25, Megan described the incident on camera for the first time.
“So I get out of the car, and it’s like everything happens so fast. And all I hear is this man screaming. And he said, ‘Dance, bitch.’ And he started shooting. And I’m just like, ‘Oh, my God.’ Like, he shot a couple of times. And I was so scared,” she told King.
“He is standing up over the window shooting. And I didn’t even want to move. I didn’t want to move too quick… If I take the wrong step, I don’t know if he’s gonna shoot something that’s, like, super important. I don’t know if he could shoot me and kill me… I was really scared ’cause I had never been shot at before,” she said.