LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday denied a motion for a new trial by the lawyers of rapper Tory Lanez, who was convicted of three felony counts in December for shooting hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion. on her feet and hurt her.
High Court Judge Herriford rejected arguments by Lanez’s lawyers that the evidence was wrongly admitted in the rehearsal presidio. He said the exclusion of the disputed evidence would not have made a difference to the trial.
Lanez, 30, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, will now be sentenced on convictions of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, having an unregistered loaded firearm in a vehicle and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. He could receive up to 22 years in prison and faces deportation to his native Canada.
As he was led from the courtroom to jail after a hearing on the motion the day before, he pleaded with Herriford to help him, saying, “It could be your son. He could be your brother.
Motions for a new trial filed immediately afterward before the same judge are a common precursor to appealing to a higher court, which Lanez’s lawyers plan to do. Motions are rarely successful.
Lanez’s lawyers claimed that a post from his Instagram account was improperly admitted into evidence. They said Megan’s testimony that Lanez urged her not to go to the police because she was on probation and she would be in serious trouble was false and an inappropriate admission of prior wrongdoing. And they said the DNA evidence prosecutors used to argue that Lanez was the likely shooter did not meet industry standards.
Lanez’s lawyers were disappointed from the start of all-day oral arguments Monday on his motion.
They had an elaborate presentation prepared, complete with audiovisuals and witnesses, but Herriford agreed to none of it, insisting instead on limited legal arguments on the precise issues raised, the norm for such motions in California court.
They pleaded at length with Herriford to allow them to present their arguments in the manner they had planned.
“I feel like it would be ineffective if we proceeded,” defense attorney José Báez said. «Mr. Peterson is entitled to the due process to which he is entitled.»
They continued under protest and later filed a motion to have the judge disqualified.
Lawyers for Lanez, who did not represent him at trial, said the lawyer who did, George Mgdesyan, made mistakes in his case because he was given too little time to prepare before trial when the rapper’s previous attorney withdrew.
Megan Thee Stallion, whose legal name is Megan Pete, testified that Lanez fired a pistol into the back of her feet and yelled at her to dance as she walked away from a van they had been riding in in the Hollywood Hills in the summer of 2020.
Mgdesyan said at trial that Megan was lying in her testimony and that Lanez had not pulled the trigger. He later said there was insufficient evidence to convict him.
As was the case throughout the trial, the courtroom was packed with the media, fans and family of Lanez, with many more outside in the hallway.
The shooting and trial unleashed a storm of cultural issues and arguments that peaked during the trial, including the reluctance of black victims to speak to police, the protection of black womengender politics in hip-hop and online toxicity.
After the verdict was read in December, Lanez’s father, Sonstar Peterson, stood up and denounced “the wicked system” that led to his son’s conviction and his removal from the courtroom.
No sentencing date has been set.
Lanez began releasing mixtapes in 2009 and saw a steady rise in popularity, moving on to major label albums. The last two of his reached the top 10 on the Billboard charts.
Megan Thee Stallion was already a huge rising star at the time of the shooting, and her prominence has increased ever since. She won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 2021 and had No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with her own song «Savage,» featuring Beyoncé, and as a guest on Cardi B’s «WAP.»