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Tory Lanez's sentencing in shooting of Megan Thee Stallion is delayed again

Lanez was convicted of all charges in the 2020 shooting and faces over 22 years in prison. Sentencing will be later because of his motion for a new trial.
Photo Illustration: Megan Pete (Megan Thee Stallion) and Torey Lanez
A jury found rapper Tory Lanez, right, guilty in December in the 2020 shooting of Megan Thee Stallion outside a Los Angeles party.NBC News / Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Tory Lanez's sentencing in the shooting of Grammy-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion has been pushed back as his new legal team tries to get him a new trial, delaying a case that fans of both musicians have closely watched for nearly three years.

The sentencing, which was originally scheduled for January, has been rescheduled multiple times, and Lanez has hired new attorneys since his conviction. A sentencing hearing was initially on the schedule Monday, but it will occur later because of Lanez’s motion for the new trial.

In court Monday, his defense said it wanted to raise new issues, and another court date was scheduled for next week, Deputy Los Angeles County District Attorney Alexander Bott said.

Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, was convicted in December of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle.

He faces a maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months in prison if he is given the maximum sentence on each charge, served consecutively. He could also be deported to Canada following time served.

The case stems from an altercation between Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, in July 2020, as they were leaving a party in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles.

Police were called to the scene for reports of a fight in an SUV.

Weeks after the incident, Megan Thee Stallion said on Instagram that she had been shot and eventually identified Lanez as the shooter.

She testified under oath that Lanez had shot her in the foot, although initially she told police officers she had cut herself on broken glass.

“I couldn’t walk for a while,” she testified. “I still have nerve damage. I can’t really feel the side of my left foot. The back of my feet are always sore, but I just push through it.”

Lanez declined to testify in his own defense. He did, however, dedicate an entire album to rebutting Megan Thee Stallion’s version of events.

Lanez’s request for a new trial alleges that prejudicial evidence was erroneously entered into evidence, according to a copy of the motion obtained by NBC News.

Concerns with forensic testing, the late inclusion of Instagram posts and prejudicial photos of Lanez's gun tattoo were among the appeal issues put forth by Lanez’s new attorney, Matthew Barhoma. 

The motion also alleges that the prosecution interfered with Lanez’s right to counsel with a line of questioning of a key witness, Kelsey Harris, about accusations that Lanez tried to bribe Harris. In September, Harris had a lengthy interview with investigators, but she backtracked parts of her testimony at the trial, citing anxiety and postpartum depression, for her inconsistency. 

Even though prosecutors accepted that Lanez's former attorney Shawn Holley was not involved in any bribery attempt at the time of Harris' interview, the state “opted to wait until mid-trial to raise the exact same allegations against counsel,” the motion said.

Holley withdrew from Lanez’s legal team as a result, according to the motion. 

Barhoma did not respond to requests for comment.

The prosecutor's office filed a response to the appeal Thursday, saying that the motion lacked substance and that the guilty verdict should stand. It included a memo from Holley to the court dated Jan. 10, in which she said she had to leave the trial because of an out-of-state arbitration.

"The evidence presented at trial was properly admitted, and the defendant's claims of errors and violations of his constitutional rights are without merit," the prosecution's filing said. "The verdict reached by the jury was based on credible evidence and was supported by the law."

Similar to other celebrity trials, the shooting case was the subject of significant social media commentary and speculation. Fans of Megan Thee Stallion called many of the people defending Lanez perpetuated “misogynoir,” referring to the specific misogyny against Black women where sexism and racism intersect.

Lanez’s defense also relied on the concept, alleging that Megan Thee Stallion falsely accused him because of jealousy. His attorney alleged that she and Harris, who was also in the car the night of the shooting, had gotten into an argument over him and other men.

Popular bloggers and entertainment sites have also fueled misinformation about the case, experts said.

In September, Megan Thee Stallion condemned the commentary that appeared on blogs and Twitter, writing, “It might be funny to y’all on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I’m real life hurt and traumatized.”

Diana Dasrath and Phil Helsel reported from Los Angeles and Doha Madani from New York.

CORRECTION (April 10, 2023, 3:49 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated what the judge was expected to consider Monday. The judge was scheduled to hear arguments for a new trial for Tory Lanez, not an appeal.