A judge in Los Angeles has rejected a plea for a new trial for imprisoned rapper Tory Lanez, who was convicted in December of shooting fellow hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion in the feet three years ago in the Hollywood Hills. Lanez’s attorney, Jose Baez, argued that procedural errors, prosecutorial misconduct, discovery violations, and ineffective counsel led to his client’s conviction.
However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Herriford denied the motion for a new trial, stating that there was “no error, prosecutorial misconduct, or newly discovered evidence.” Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, is facing up to 22 years and eight months in prison, with sentencing scheduled for June 13.
During the hearing on Monday, Baez frequently requested recesses and complained about the order in which the judge was taking up the defense claims of trial error. Herriford told Baez that the motions hearing was not an opportunity to “relitigate this case.” Baez and co-counsel Matthew Barhoma criticized the judge’s refusal to allow the defense to present witnesses and exhibits, something that would be unusual for such a proceeding in the state.
Baez accused Lanez’s former trial attorney, George Mgdesyan, of not having enough time to prepare for trial and ultimately “failing” Lanez. The rapper’s defense during the 10-day trial in downtown Los Angeles “was a jumbled, bungled mess,” Baez said.
Baez and Barhoma filed their motion for a new trial last month, arguing that certain evidence presented at trial and certain witness statements were prejudicial to their client, including an Instagram post and a photo of Lanez’s gun tattoo. In a posting on Instagram last month, Lanez insisted he was “wrongfully convicted” of shooting Megan Thee Stallion and alleged that he “was completely robbed and deprived of a fair trial.”
Lanez has been in custody since he was ordered to be taken into custody on December 23, 2021, shortly after the jury’s verdict was read. Jurors deliberated about seven hours before finding him guilty of the three felony counts. During the trial, Megan Thee Stallion testified that Lanez shot her in the feet during an argument following a get-together at Kylie Jenner’s home in July 2020. She said she had no doubt that Lanez fired the shots and that he later offered her $1 million not to say anything.
Megan Thee Stallion recently wrote an essay for Elle magazine’s website, stating, “As I reflect on the past three years, I view myself as a survivor, because I have truly survived the unimaginable.” She added, “Not only did I survive being shot by someone I trusted and considered a close friend, but I overcame the public humiliation of having my name and reputation dragged through the mud by that individual for the entire world to see.”