Tory Lanez Files Appeal After Being Convicted of Shooting Megan Thee Stallion: Reports
In December, the "Say It" rapper was found guilty of assault with a semiautomatic firearm; carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharging a firearm with gross negligence
Tory Lanez is reportedly challenging a verdict that found him guilty of shooting Megan Thee Stallion.
The "Luv" rapper, 30, was convicted in December on all three charges against him — assault with a semiautomatic firearm; carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharging a firearm with gross negligence — for shooting Megan in 2020.
He will be sentenced on April 10 and could receive up to 22 years and eight months in state prison, per Fox 11 Los Angeles.
While awaiting his sentencing, Lanez filed an appeal, according to TMZ. In documents obtained by the outlet, his lawyer Jose Baez said that, during the trial, prosecutors showed a photo of Lanez's chest, which revealed a tattoo of a firearm. Baez claimed the photo hurt Lanez's case and suggested he likes weapons.
The lawyer also pointed to a lengthy interview between prosecutors and Kelsey Harris that was played in the courtroom. Harris, Megan's former friend who was in the car when she was shot, recanted many of the statements she made during the interview, the outlet reported.
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Baez pointed out that prosecutors also submitted an Instagram photo that included a remark from one of Megan's producers in the comments section. They alleged police matched the fragments in Megan's foot to the bullets in Lanez's gun, according to TMZ.
Baez said Megan told police that, after the shooting, Lanez begged her, "Please don't say anything because I'm on probation" — a remark that Baez said should not have been included in the trial.
Per Rolling Stone, Baez and Lanez's other lawyer, Matthew Barhoma, said in the appeal that a September 2020 Instagram post from Lanez's profile was also "erroneously allowed" to be presented in the trial. The post denied allegations that Harris was the one who allegedly shot Megan.
A content creator for Lanez, Joshua Farias, submitted a declaration with the appeal, stating that he commented "that's not true" underneath a post on The Shade Room's Instagram page that claimed, "People saying Kelsey shot her."
Lanez's legal team said that they were blindsided when the post was displayed in proceedings and that the judge should not have blocked the post before they could determine who actually wrote the comment.
They state that the post alone serves as evidence that Lanez admitted Harris did not shoot Megan. Still, during the trial the defense team alleged that Harris did indeed pull the trigger, which Megan denied, according to Rolling Stone.
"The court erred on numerous questions of law in allowing the People to introduce this post, depriving defendant of a fair trial," his lawyers wrote in the filing, Rolling Stone reported. "The only acceptable remedy for this miscarriage of justice is a new trial."
Baez and Barhoma did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. A rep for Megan Thee Stallion has not commented.
Related:Megan Thee Stallion Breaks Down on Stand, Says She Wishes She Hadn't Survived Alleged Tory Lanez Shooting
They claim in the documents, according to Rolling Stone, that prosecutors "painted defendant as a gun-wielding career criminal" and that they "revealed their true motive" when showing the shirtless photo of Lanez and "deprived" him of his "due process" based on a California law, AB 2799, which went into effect nine days after Lanez's guilty verdict and aims to stop "creative expression" from being presented as evidence that might show racial bias. They alleged that the photo caused "improper consideration of criminal propensity based on his 'gangster' rapper persona.
"Ironically, defendant's tattoo was an homage to Tupac Shakur. Mr. Shakur used his music and tattoos to discuss socio-political issues affecting the Black community in the nineties," his lawyers wrote, according to Rolling Stone. "Mr. Shakur carried the same AK-47 tattoo on his chest as a symbol of Black unity and the fight against racism."
Baez and Barhoma go on to say their client's right to testify was "impermissibly chilled" when prosecutors warned they would bring up his lyrics and video for "Cap" if he took the stand. The controversial song was released in 2022 and shows the rapper using a cleaver on what appears to be a horse leg, Rolling Stone reported.
They wrote that he should've been allowed to testify without the threat of his lyrics being presented because the new law "had already deemed" it "more prejudicial than probative" when it was passed, even though it hadn't been enacted yet at the time of the trial.
Megan referenced the video during her own testimony and said, "I got to watch Tory drop music videos chopping up horse legs and people laughing at it, like that's OK," per Rolling Stone.
Prosecutors will likely respond before Lanez's sentencing, the outlet added.
Lanez also told Rolling Stone that he is making changes to his legal representation.
"Due to a scheduling conflict, David Kenner will no longer be a part of my defense team," he said. "I would like to thank Mr. Kenner for his hard work and wise counsel. Jose Baez will continue to represent me as first chair and Matthew Barhoma as second chair."
RELATED VIDEO: Megan Thee Stallion Calls Tory Lanez an 'Abuser,' Says She's 'Not Changing' Her Story: 'You Shot Me'
On the second day of the trial, Megan, 28, delivered an emotional testimony and said that she was finding it tough to open up.
"I'm having a really difficult time sitting up here telling my story and having to sit across [from] people who have made up lies about me and having to [sit] across from Tory," Megan said.
Getting emotional, she added, "I try to be strong. I don't like to look weak. I don't want to give them the power that they've taken from me for the last three years."
Lanez was charged in October 2020 with one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, personal use of a firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in November 2020.
In October 2022, Lanez was ordered under house arrest and electronic monitoring, with Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott arguing at the time that Lanez posed a danger to society and previously defied court orders not to come within 100 yards of Megan (Lanez was previously arrested in April for violating court orders by addressing Megan directly on social media and disclosing DNA evidence via a third-party Twitter user).
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