Canadian rapper Tory Lanez was found guilty of three felonies over the 2020 shooting of hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion.
The incident left the singer injured with bullet fragments in her feet.
A Los Angeles jury reached its verdict on Friday after a day of deliberations.
Lanez, 30, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, was convicted of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, of carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and of unloading a firearm with gross negligence.
Now he faces up to 22 years in prison.
Lanez, who wore a blush pink winter coat with matching pants, showed no visible reaction when the verdict was read out. He was handcuffed while in court.
After the jury left the courtroom, Lanez’s father Sonstar Peterson jumped up and started screaming. “This evil system is being judged before Almighty God!” He shouted as the deputies closed in on him. Then he pointed at the two prosecutors in the case and yelled “You two are evil and evil people. You know exactly what you did.
The deputies removed him from the chamber, where he continued to shout in the corridor.
Members of the media and the public were forced to remain in the courtroom for several minutes after the hearing while the corridor was cleared.
Bullets in his feet
Megan Thee Stallion, whose legal name is Megan Pete, testified during the trial that Lanez fired a gun behind her feet and yelled at her to dance as she walked away from an SUV they had been traveling in the Hollywood Hills in the summer of 2020.
He said the two had gotten into an argument that was particularly heated when he started dissing his music.
He needed surgery to remove the shrapnel from his feet.
“The jury got it right,” said Megan’s attorney Alex Spiro. “I am grateful that there is justice for Meg.”
Lanez’s attorneys could not be found for comment outside the courtroom. Emails sent to them and to prosecutors asking for reactions to the verdict were not immediately returned.
The shooting unleashed a firestorm of cultural issues and discussions that peaked during the trial, including black victims’ reluctance to speak to police, the protection of black women, gender politics in hip-hop, and the online toxicity.
In closing arguments, prosecutors highlighted the courage it took for Megan to come forward and the vitriol the 27-year-old faced because of it. They said she had no incentive to tell anything other than the truth.
“Why would he lie?” Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott said so. “She was subjected to a flow of hate. For what? For coming forward as a victim of domestic violence?”
Lanez’s attorney said in her closing argument that the shots were actually fired by Megan’s then-best friend Kelsey Harris in a jealous fight over Lanez, who tried to stop the shooting. The attorney, George Mgdesyan, argued that Megan created a more sympathetic narrative by attributing the shooting to Lanez.
“Megan Pete is a liar. She lied about everything in this case from the very beginning, ”said Mgdesyan. « She here she lied under oath. »
Harris denied being the shooter and had previously identified Lanez as the one holding the gun. His attorney, in an email, declined to comment on his involvement.
Lanez started releasing mixtapes in 2009 and has seen a steady rise in popularity, moving over to major label albums. His last two have reached the top 10 of the Billboard charts.
Megan Thee Stallion was already a major rising star at the time of the shooting, and her prominence has only increased since then. She won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 2021 and had No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with her song “Savage,” featuring Beyoncé, and as a guest on Cardi B’s “WAP.”