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Megan Thee Stallion appeared in Los Angeles court Tuesday (Dec. 13) on the second day of the closely watched trial over whether Tory Lanez shot her in the foot on July 12, 2020.
The rapper was met with a legion of her supporters at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, several of whom held a big, black “WE STAND WITH MEGAN” banner during a rally that was organized by non-profit The Gathering of Justice in conjunction with multiple women’s and violence prevention organizations. The Grammy winner arrived at the courthouse wearing a blunt shoulder bob and bold purple suit — a fitting color choice that symbolizes awareness of domestic violence, especially against women.
Once on the stand, Stallion’s voice cracked after L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta, one of the prosecutors on the case, asked her if she knew the defendant Lanez (real name Daystar Peterson). “Yes…. We used to hang out all the time,” said Stallion (real name Megan Pete), before admitting the two had an “intimate” but not exclusive relationship.
Lanez, wearing a cream-patterned suit and white turtleneck, listened intently throughout Stallion’s testimony. He faces three felony charges: assault with a semiautomatic firearm; carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharging a firearm with gross negligence, the latter of which was added to the list of charges ahead of the trial last week. If convicted on all three counts, Lanez faces 22 years in prison.
Ta went on to ask Stallion about her relationship with Kelsey Harris — whom the rapper identified as her “best friend since freshman year of college” who later became her assistant at the end of 2019 — before asking what transpired the night of July 11, 2020, when the two women, along with Stallion’s stylist EJ King, attended a pool party at Kylie Jenner‘s house. Stallion recalled the evening’s events in front of the packed gallery, where Desiree Perez, CEO of Stallion’s management company Roc Nation, sat next to activist Tamika Mallory. Lanez’s family was also present in the room.
“I just don’t feel good,” said Stallion, 27, when asked by prosecutors if she was “nervous” to testify. “I can’t believe I have to come up here and do this.”
During her time on the stand, the Traumazine MC shared her side of the story as prompted by prosecutors, recalling that she had texted Lanez to come to the “small” gathering at Jenner’s home, where the makeup mogul was joined by friends and her mother Kris Jenner’s boyfriend, Corey Gamble. By the time Lanez arrived at the residence, Stallion said she, Harris, Jenner and Lanez were the only people remaining, and the foursome hung out in the pool together. “My hair [wig] was starting to come off and I wanted to go,” said Stallion, noting that Lanez “had an attitude because he wasn’t ready to leave the party.” Ultimately, Stallion, Harris, Lanez and his security guard Jauquan Smith, who had driven him to Jenner’s house, left the party together.
Stallion said tension initially rose in the car when Lanez, 30, allegedly told her, “You need to stop lying to your friend” regarding their sexual relationship. Stallion, who said she knew Harris had a crush on the R&B singer, “didn’t want her to know I had dealt with him in any kind of way.” While she said Harris was angry after learning about the relationship, Lanez provoked the ire of both women when he called them “bi—es and h–s,” Stallion claimed. Growing frustrated, Stallion says she asked to be let out of the car on Sunset Boulevard but quickly realized she was “literally at the peak” of her career and only wearing a “thong [bikini]” in the middle of the “most famous” street in L.A. To presumably avoid drawing any unwanted attention, Stallion says she got back inside the car, only to ask to be let out again on a side street not too far from the first stop because she was “over it.”
“I started walking away and I hear Tory yell, ‘Dance, bi–h!’” she tearfully recounted in front of the jury, adding that she saw Lanez pointing a gun at her. “I froze. I just felt shock. I felt hurt. I looked down at my feet, and I see all of this blood,” she said before explaining that she fell to the ground and crawled to a nearby driveway. “Everything feels blurry,” she continued, before recalling that Harris and Lanez bumped into each other on their way over to her. “Tory was basically telling me I wasn’t s–t, and I said, ‘Actually, you ain’t s–t. This is where you at in your career. This is where you at with your music.’ And I feel like that really rubbed him the wrong way,” she claimed.
The magnitude of both rappers’ careers was a point of contention in the hearing. At one point, Ta asked if Stallion’s career at the time was “bigger” than Lanez’s and she answered “yes.” “I had just done a song with Beyoncé,” she told the jury excitedly, referring to the remix of “Savage,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its arrival in April 2020, just two months shy of the shooting. Lanez visibly furrowed his eyebrows when she added, “He was just Tory Lanez,” but that the highly publicized incident “has gained him a lot of popularity.”
Between sobs, Stallion argued that “every man that’s in a position of power that’s in the music industry” didn’t want to believe her side of the story. “I’m a villain, and he’s the victim,” she claimed. According to Stallion, that’s one of the reasons why, immediately after the incident, she told police officers that she cut her foot stepping on broken glass. It was only four days after the shooting, during a phone interview with Detective Ryan Stogner, that she alleged she had suffered a gunshot wound, she said. “This was the height of police brutality and George Floyd,” she testified, adding that she feared everyone would wind up dead if she told officers Lanez had shot her. “I didn’t want to see anybody die. I didn’t want to die.”
Stallion also tearfully admitted to initially not being honest about her intimate relationship with Lanez because “it’s disgusting at this point. How could I share my body with somebody who could shoot me?” She added that her current partner, fellow rapper Pardison Fontaine, is “embarrassed” over the continual coverage of Stallion and her previous entanglements. “I can’t even be happy….I wish he had just shot and killed me,” she continued.
The courtroom noticeably stiffened once Lanez’s lead attorney, George Mgdesyan, began interviewing Stallion as part of the cross-examination. After bringing up Stallion’s CBS Mornings interview with Gayle King from April 2022, during which the rapper claimed she did not have an intimate relationship with Lanez, Stallion admitted to the jury that she had lied on national television about the nature of their relationship. The defense also presented her with the police report from her initial interview with Detective Stogner on July 16, 2020, in an effort to refresh her memory that she had told the police “this wasn’t the first time” she had “backdoored” Harris.
“I’ve never been with anyone Kelsey’s been with,” she told Mgdesyan, contradicting the attorney’s opening statement from Monday when he argued Stallion had also been romantically involved with fellow rapper DaBaby and NBA player Ben Simmons right after Harris had dated both men.
While attempting to build a timeline of the July 12, 2020, incident, Stallion and Mgdesyan engaged in a heated exchange about what she remembered, including what time she and her group arrived and left Jenner’s house, the geographical location of where the shooting occurred and Lanez’s whereabouts in relation to the SUV when he shot her. When the defense asked if she didn’t remember what Lanez was wearing that night because she was intoxicated, Stallion shot back by saying she didn’t remember because the incident was now two years old.
Stallion and Mgdesyan talked over each other when the defense showed different photos of the bloody luggage and Louis Vuitton bag from the back seat of the SUV, where Stallion and Harris were allegedly sitting right after the shooting took place. When Mgdesyan asked Stallion if the black Louis Vuitton bag was hers or if she owned one similar to it, she simply replied, “I have a lot of bags,” leading the jury and gallery to chuckle amongst themselves in a brief moment of levity.
The mood quickly tensed again when Mgdesyan again asked Stallion why she didn’t tell the officers at the hospital that she had been shot. “Snitching is frowned upon in the hip-hop community,” Stallion replied. That led the defense to swiftly quote a snippet of her Instagram Live video from Aug. 20, 2020, when the “WAP” rapper named Lanez as her alleged shooter publicly for the first time. The Houston-bred artist looked visibly shocked when Mgdesyan said aloud, “But I’m not finna let y’all keep playing in my face, and I’m not finna let this n—a keep playing in my face, either.” Mgdesyan is not Black and recited the uncensored version of the N-word, leading Stallion to request that he repeat the full line. Upon doing so, Mgdesyan again used the uncensored version of the word.
Lanez straightened his suit jacket and seemed pressed when the majority of Stallion’s seven-minute IG Live was played from this YouTube video, in which Stallion is seen telling nearly 90,000 live viewers, “Yes, this n—a Tory shot me. You shot me! And you got your publicists and your people going to these blogs, lying and s–t. Stop lying! Why lie? I don’t understand. I tried to keep the situation off the internet, but you dragging it! You really f—ing dragging it!”
Stallion grew upset again during the redirect examination, wiping her nose and unable to hold back tears when describing how the alleged shooting has impacted her life and career in the two years since. “People don’t even want to touch me,” she wept, adding that her peers in the music industry viewed Stallion — a moniker suggesting a robust horse — like a “sick bird.” Her desolation grew more apparent while identifying various social media posts that she’s seen in the aftermath of the incident, including one that read, “Megan Needs To Be Shot and Killed.”
Coming forward with who allegedly shot her, Stallion testified, has ultimately caused her to “lose my confidence, lose my friends, lose myself. Damn, maybe I should be dead,” she cried.
The trial will resume Wednesday (Dec. 14).
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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