By TERRI VERMEULEN KEITH
LOS ANGELES – Trial is tentatively scheduled to start Monday for rapper Tory Lanez, who is charged with assault and a weapons count in connection with the shooting of fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion during an argument in the Hollywood Hills.
However, Superior Court Judge David Herriford has said proceedings could be delayed as late as Dec. 8.
Lanez, 30, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, has been ordered to be placed on electronic monitoring and house arrest by Monday while he awaits trial.
Following an alleged attack on a man in Chicago last month, the judge noted prosecutors had argued in their motion that Lanez poses a danger to society and has a pattern of defying court orders, while acknowledging the defense’s response saying there was insufficient evidence a battery had even occurred.
Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott urged the judge to order the rapper into custody without bail while awaiting trial on one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, along with allegations he personally used a firearm and inflicted great bodily injury.
The prosecutor said Lanez has “shown such a flagrant disregard for the court’s orders,” telling the judge that the defendant had previously violated court orders not to come within 100 yards of Megan Thee Stallion and posting messages on social media that appeared to be directed at her. Bott told the judge that the defendant allegedly punched a man “without warning” and knocked him to the ground Sept. 17 in Chicago.
The rapper’s attorney, Shawn Holley, countered that the incident in Chicago involves “mere allegations,” adding “these allegations are disputed.” She noted that no case has been filed there.
“I’m not really sure that there’s anything this court should do given the unproven allegations,” the defense lawyer told the judge.
Herriford ordered the rapper to be placed on electronic monitoring and house arrest between Monday and the next court date.
On April 5, Lanez spent about five hours in custody after the judge increased Lanez’s bail from $250,000 to $350,000 after agreeing with Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta’s contention that some of his social media posts appeared to be messages directed at Megan Thee Stallion. The judge ordered then that Lanez no longer make any public mention of his fellow rapper.
During a preliminary hearing last year, Los Angeles Police Department Detective Ryan Stogner testified that he spoke with Megan Thee Stallion and that she told him that she heard Lanez say, “Dance, bitch,” before he fired at her at about 4:30 a.m. July 12, 2020, as the bikini-clad woman got out of a Cadillac SUV for the second time that morning following an argument.
“No one heard, `Dance, bitch,’ except for Megan?” defense attorney Shawn Holley asked on cross-examination.
“Correct,” the detective responded.
The alleged victim, identified in court and the criminal complaint only as “Megan P.,” said her feet were “bleeding profusely” and that she fell to the ground and crawled to a nearby driveway, according to the detective.
She said a female friend who had been in the vehicle ran up to her afterward, along with Lanez, and that he “emphatically apologized for what he did” and offered to drive her home.
The detective said Megan Thee Stallion told police Lanez “offered her money” and begged her not to say anything, telling her that he was on probation — something Stogner said he could never substantiate.
The vehicle was subsequently stopped by police officers responding to a call of a shooting, and she initially told officers and doctors she had not been shot and that broken glass had caused the injuries to her feet, according to the detective.
She told the detective she was “extremely scared and embarrassed,” was “scared he was going to get in trouble” and was concerned the police might shoot him, but was “sincere,” “visibly distraught” and “crying” when she subsequently admitted Lanez had shot her, Stogner testified.
Some of the bullet fragments were subsequently removed from her feet by an orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but some still remain inside her and she reported that she has ongoing physical therapy and difficulty walking in some types of shoes, according to the detective.
Following his arrest, Lanez made a jailhouse phone call to her female friend as she waited at the hospital and “he continued to apologize for the incident that occurred” and explained he was basically drunk, the investigating officer testified.
In an outburst from the opposite side of the courtroom during the hearing last Dec. 14, Lanez questioned aloud how the detective could tell why he was apologizing during the call.
“Does he say anything in the jail call about shooting?” Holley asked the detective.
“No,” Stogner responded.
The injured woman, Megan P, who was bleeding, and Lanez were among four people in the SUV that was stopped about a mile from the scene of where shots were reported, according to LAPD Officer Sandra Cabral.
A handgun that was “warm to the touch” was discovered inside the vehicle, and four spent casings were subsequently found at the scene, Cabral testified.
In a video posted on Instagram Live following the shooting, Megan Thee Stallion said, “Tory shot me. You shot me and you got your publicist and your people are lying … Stop lying.”
She said police officers drove her to a hospital, where she underwent surgery, and added she was “incredibly grateful to be alive.”
In an op-ed published in the New York Times, she wrote that she was “recently the victim of an act of violence by a man” and that she was initially silent about what had happened “out of fear for myself and my friends.”
“Even as a victim, I have been met with skepticism and judgment,” she wrote. “The way people have publicly questioned and debated whether I played a role in my own violent assault proves that my fears about discussing what happened were, unfortunately, warranted.”
In a posting last year on Twitter, Lanez wrote, “I have all faith in God to show that … love to all my fans and people that have stayed true to me & know my heart … a charge is not a conviction.”