Tory Lanez has has been hit with a third misdemeanor charge as he awaits opening statements in his trial over claims he shot Megan Thee Stallion in the foot more than two years ago.
Prosecutors on Monday added the new charge of firing a firearm with gross negligence, amid ongoing jury selection in the case. Rolling stone has learned.
Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, previously pleaded not guilty to one felony each of assault with a semi-automatic firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. He also faces a gun charge that he personally caused grievous bodily harm.
The new charge carries a possible six-year prison term and still qualifies as a deportable crime if jurors choose to convict him of negligent discharge, as opposed to more serious assault charges. (The Alone at the ball artist is a Canadian citizen.) If convicted on all counts, Peterson still faces the same maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months. The new charge adds nothing to the exposure because it involves the same alleged conduct, so any related sentence would run concurrently.
Peterson, 30, is accused of pointing a semi-automatic 9mm pistol at Megan’s feet and yelling, “Dance, bitch!” and opening fire in the early morning hours of July 12, 2020.
Peterson and Megan were traveling in a Cadillac Escalade with Megan’s best friend, Kelsey Harris, and Peterson’s bodyguard when an argument caused Megan to exit the vehicle on a dark residential street in the Hollywood Hills, according to testimony at Peterson’s preliminary hearing last year.
Testifying that he was assigned to the case two days after the shooting, an LAPD detective interviewed Megan, born Megan Pete, by phone on July 16, 2020, and then again on November 12, 2020. He said the “Savage” singer identified Peterson clearly as her attacker.
“As she got out of the vehicle, she heard Mr. Peterson yelling obscenities at her, and he said, ‘Dance, bitch!’ And he then started firing a gun at her, ‘det. Ryan Stogner testified.
“(Megan) saw Mr. Peterson holding a gun, and then she saw him start firing,” Stogner said. “Megan immediately felt pain in her feet, saw blood, fell to the ground, then crawled into an adjacent driveway of a residence… She described her injuries as bleeding profusely.”
He said Megan initially lied and told police she stepped on glass because she was afraid of the officers’ reaction.
“She said she was extremely scared and embarrassed at the time, and due to the fact that she was friends with the defendant, she was afraid he would get into trouble, and she also expressed some concerns about the political climate in relation to police and shootings,” Stogner testified. “She was concerned that there had been recent shooting by the police and she described her concern that the police might have shot the defendant as he had just committed a shooting.”
Stogner said medical records from Cedars-Sinai Hospital confirmed that doctors found bullet fragments in both of Megan’s feet.
Harris, for her part, has not spoken publicly about the shooting, but her friendship with Megan has become estranged. She appeared under a subpoena from prosecutors at an earlier hearing and will testify in the case.
At a hearing on Monday, Tory’s new lawyer, George Mgdesyan, argued that prosecutors should not mention in their opening statement that Peterson allegedly apologized to Harris while in jail after the shooting. He said unless Harris testifies and establishes an adequate basis for the call, it should remain off limits.
Judge of Los Angeles County David Herriford said that as long as prosecutors believe in good faith that Harris will testify, he would allow them to say what they think the evidence will show. He also said another witness might be able to lay the necessary groundwork. Regardless, prosecutors confirmed they expect Harris to testify.
The rough contents of the prison sentence were revealed at Peterson’s probable cause hearing last December. “The defendant continued to apologize for the incident that occurred. He actually told Kelsey that he was drunk and that he was sorry for what he had done,” Stogner testified, adding that he personally assessed the prison sentence that was allegedly placed shortly after the shooting.
During cross-examination last year, Stogner said that Megan and Harris had been good friends for about seven years, but apparently “cut their friendship” shortly after the incident.
Grilling Stogner under cross-examination, Peterson’s attorney at the time, Shawn Holley, claimed that the “argument in the car escalated” because Peterson claimed he and Megan had been in some sort of intimate relationship, and Harris became upset because she “had a romantic interest in Tory.”
Holley then suggested that Harris may have fired the gun, citing part of a statement from a third eyewitness who reported seeing some of the incidents from his nearby balcony. The witness reportedly said it seemed to him that the muzzle flash was closest to the non-victim woman at the time of the shooting.
On Monday, prosecutors asked Judge Herriford to rule that if Peterson refuses to testify, his lawyers will not be allowed to enter a “third-guilty defense” in which they could name another possible shooter. Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott said the eyewitness statement on the balcony was all over the place and that the witness has firmly stated that he “doesn’t know who the shooter is”.
According to Bott, the man’s initial statement claimed that “nine people got out of the car: five men and four women.” (Only four people were in the car.) The man also claimed at one point that he was awakened by the gunfire and did not see the shooting, Bott told the court. “Every time he made a statement, the details changed,” Bott said. “He’s downright unreliable.”
Judge Herriford said Monday that prosecutors must file a written motion on the case before he can rule.
Opening statements in the trial begin Dec. 12.