Tory Lanez is Hoping Snoop Dogg’s former criminal defense attorney can convince a Los Angeles judge he deserves a new trial after a Los Angeles jury found him guilty of shooting Megan Thee Stallion.
The “Luv” singer appeared in court for the first time after the sentencing on Tuesday and told the judge he wanted attorneys David Kenner and Matthew Barhoma to replace his outgoing trial attorney George Mgdesyan and Shawn Holley, his original defense attorney, who was leading the trial had missed due to a conflict.
Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, wore an orange prison uniform and a white rosary around his neck for the afternoon hearing, which was delayed because his prison bracelet was “too loose,” Kenner said Rolling Stone.
Judge David Herriford signed off on the change of attorney and agreed to delay Lanez’s sentencing from Jan. 27 to Feb. 28 at the earliest to give connoisseurs time to review the trial’s transcripts and file a motion for a new trial. The judge also said Kenner could file a separate motion on that date aimed at overturning the protective order preventing Lanez from discussing the case.
“We look forward to hearing the motion for a new trial,” Kenner told reporters after the hearing, declining to elaborate on possible reasons. “We are very confident.”
Kenner, 81, is legendary in hip-hop circles. He successfully defended Snoop Dogg in the rapper’s 1996 murder trial, which ended in an acquittal. More recently, he defended Suge Knight in a civil suit over allegations that the Death Row Records founder negligently killed his friend Terry Carter with his truck. This process ended with a hung jury.
Kenner is also representing Pras Michel in a federal criminal case alleging that the fugitive member helped Malaysian financier Jho Low covertly funnel money to US politicians.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Kenner asked Judge Herriford to reverse the protection order issued in April 2022, which prohibits Peterson from mentioning Megan or details about the criminal case in public comments.
“Your Honor, with all due respect, there have been a number of other people associated with the case who have posted on social media and made statements. I would suggest to the court that the way the (protection order) was written is a prior restriction on freedom of expression,” Kenner argued Tuesday. “I think it is inappropriate that Mr. Peterson should be placed in a position where he is prevented from using his voice.”
The judge said he was not “inclined” to drop the order “at this point,” but said Kenner could try again on February 28.
Mgdesyan shot down speculation Peterson fired him after the guilty verdict by telling it Rolling Stone He willingly stepped aside to give Kenner room to process the request for a new trial and the awaited appeal. Mgdesyan said he is not working on appeals but he can still attend Peterson’s sentencing.
“I’m still friends with Tory, friends with the family,” he says.
On December 23, Peterson was convicted of shooting Megan The Stallion in both feet in July 2020.
The jury capped a two-week trial by finding that he assaulted Megan with a semi-automatic firearm, caused grievous bodily harm, recklessly discharged the gun, and possessed the hidden, unregistered gun in his SUV.
He faces up to 22 years and eight months in prison if he is sentenced on January 27. He is also threatened with subsequent deportation because he is a Canadian citizen.
“The jury got it right. I am grateful that there is justice for Meg,” Megan’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said after the unanimous decision.
In more than three hours of harrowing testimony, Megan told jurors she was trying to escape a rowdy match in Peterson’s Cadillac Escalade when she heard the rapper say, “Dance, bitch!” and turned to see him pointed a 9mm semi-automatic pistol at her.
“I’m in shock. I am scared. I hear a gun go off. I couldn’t believe he shot me,” she testified in the crowded courtroom. “He held the gun and pointed it at me.”
The Grammy winner, 27, said after being shot she fell to the ground and crawled to a nearby driveway. “I looked at my feet and I saw all the blood,” she said. “Now everyone is screaming. He looked shocked.”
Describing her “terrified” reaction to the attack, Megan said Peterson apologized and asked her to remain calm as the sirens approached. She initially told police she stepped on glass out of fear and confusion, she testified.
“He says, ‘Please don’t say anything. I’ll give you all a million dollars. I can’t go to jail. I’ve been caught with a gun before,'” she testified.
The trial included startling testimony from Megan’s former best friend Kelsey Harris, who was present at the Escalade the morning of the shooting and gave prosecutors an 80-minute taped statement in September vividly recalling Peterson firing five shots and leaving War Megan lies wounded on the ground.
When Harris was at the courthouse on December 14 under a subpoena from the district attorney’s office, she invoked her 5th Amendment right to self-incrimination and asked for blanket immunity. Prosecutors agreed to grant her “useful immunity” instead, meaning her affidavit could not be used against her in a future trial, but she could still be charged with something based on other evidence.
On the witness stand, Harris dismissed key aspects of her September testimony, claiming she did not see Peterson open fire and was operating under “assumptions” when five minutes after the shooting she wrote three lines of text that read “Help / Tory shot Meg / 911 .”
While Harris refused to implicate Peterson in her live testimony, she said it was “ridiculous” that his defense claimed she was the shooter.
The jury heard that while Megan was still in the hospital, Peterson sent her an apparent apology, which read, “Meg, I know you’ve probably never spoken to me again, but I really want you to know that it has.” I’m deeply sorry my heart. And I was just too drunk. Still, shit should never have happened, and I can’t change what happened. I just feel terrible. Because I really was just too drunk.”
Megan testified that she was finding it difficult to cope with the aftermath of her assault and defended her decision to keep her past intimate relationship with Peterson a secret from the trial. She told jurors that the non-exclusive relationship made her “embarrassed” and ultimately felt it was irrelevant to the violence that landed her in the hospital.
She told the jury that naming Peterson as her attacker came at a hefty price. She said it felt like a lot of men in the music industry “never cared what my side of the story was” and “immediately took that man’s side.”
“Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t call me a liar or shame me for being a grown woman and having sex,” she testified.
“Tory came out and told so many different lies, about me not being shot, about him not being the shooter, and making it a sex scandal,” she testified.
Megan said she now faces a constant barrage of online threats and harassment. She said she felt like a “sick bird” that other members of her industry tried to avoid.
“Because I was shot, I became sort of a villain, and he’s the victim. It’s messed up my whole life,” she said, adding that she’s often “depressed” about being “shamed” online. She also spoke at length about that trauma inside her earlier this year Rolling Stone cover story.
At her lowest point, she thought, “I wish he would have just shot me and killed me (rather than) having to go through that torture,” Megan told the jury.
In her closing argument, Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Kathy Ta said it made no sense that Megan would frame Peterson if Harris pulled the trigger.
“He’s a rapper in the business. He has the support of the boys’ club. It would have been easier for her to say, ‘My crazy assistant did this to me.’ It’s a lot harder for her to hold her own against Tory,” Ta argued. “She had to think about it because she was worried about what it would cost her, and it cost her a lot.”
Ta said the case “is not about anyone’s sex life” and asked the jury to look at the evidence and affidavits. She said it was Peterson’s “battered ego” that led to the shooting. “(Megan) didn’t respect his rap. She insults him as a rapper and that makes him angry. He had a massive ego and couldn’t handle being disrespected. And how dare she walk away from him? So he again asserted his dominance. He wanted to show her.”