Following the verdict, Gascón thanked Megan for her testimony and condemned the harassment and ridicule she experienced after coming forward with her account of being shot.
“You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” Gascón said. “Women, especially Black women, are afraid to report crimes like assault and sexual violence because they are too often not believed.”
Lanez was immediately taken into custody after the verdict. A sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 27. Lanez faces a maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months.
“The jury got it right. I am thankful there is justice for meg,” Megan Thee Stallion’s attorney, Alex Spiro, told The Washington Post in an email following the verdict.
George G. Mgdesyan, an attorney for Lanez, said the defense team may pursue an appeal.
“We are shocked by the verdict,” Mgdesyan told The Post. “There was not sufficient evidence to convict Mr. Peterson. We believe this case was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We will be exploring all options including an appeal.”
The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for about a day, since closing arguments concluded Thursday.
In the summer of 2020, reports spread of an allegedly violent incident that occurred July 12 between Lanez and Megan after a party in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. Megan first recounted details of the “traumatic night” July 15 on Instagram, where she stated that she “suffered gunshot wounds” and underwent surgery to remove the bullets. Amid an influx of online harassment directed toward her, she tweeted two days later about how Black women “are so unprotected” and “hold so many things in to protect the feelings of others w/o considering our own.”
The next month, Megan publicly accused Lanez of having shot at her feet after an argument.
In October 2020, Lanez was charged with one felony count for assault with a semiautomatic weapon and another for carrying a loaded and unregistered firearm in a vehicle. Earlier this month, during jury selection for the case, prosecutors tacked on a third charge of discharging a firearm with gross negligence. Lanez maintained his innocence in regard to all three felony counts.
The trial began in December after multiple delays. Megan delivered emotional testimony, noting that she experienced depression and suicidal thoughts because of how she was treated after speaking up about the encounter with Lanez. According to the Los Angeles Timesshe stated that she wished “he would’ve just shot and killed me if I knew I was going to have to go through this torture.”
Megan said that before the shooting, she and Lanez grew closer over the loss of their mothers and at times had a sexual relationship, the Times reported. She said the shooting took place after she and Lanez got into an argument upon leaving a party hosted by beauty mogul Kylie Jenner, when Lanez told Megan “to stop lying” about the nature of their relationship to her best friend, Kelsey Harris.
Megan testified that Harris, whom Megan believed to have a “crush” on Lanez, was also present in the SUV, along with Lanez’s bodyguard. According to the Times, the fight transitioned into one about Megan’s and Lanez’s music careers. Megan stated that she asked to be let out of the vehicle, after which point she said things escalated and Lanez shot at her while yelling, “Dance, b—-.”
“I felt shocked. I felt hurt. I wasn’t sure if this was really happening,” Megan recalled, per NPR.
Asked why she initially told authorities her injuries were from stepping in glass, Megan said she didn’t “feel safe with the police,” NPR reported. She said she grew up wary of police, and that “in the Black community — in my community — it’s not really acceptable to be cooperating with police officers.”
Harris, now Megan’s former friend, also stated in court that she previously lied about what happened that night. In a recorded interview from September, Harris told prosecutors Lanez had threatened to shoot her inside the SUV before he began shooting at Megan, according to Rolling Stone. The Associated Press reported that Harris explicitly stated on the recording that Lanez “was shooting the gun.”
Prosecutors were allowed to play all 78 minutes of the recording, according to the AP. While testifying, Harris said she “wasn’t truthful” while giving the statement in September. She denied that Lanez had threatened her, per Rolling Stone, and said she couldn’t recall him firing at Megan.
At one point, Harris denied seeing Lanez fire the gun at all, Rolling Stone reported. When asked about the discrepancies in her stories, Harris said her mental health was suffering from a combination of anxiety, postpartum issues and grief stemming from the death of a loved one, according to the magazine. She repeatedly asked to hear questions again and said she was “zoning out.”
Harris was a key witness for prosecutors, who expected her to corroborate that Lanez discharged the firearm. While Harris’s testimony was instead inconsistent with her statement, Rolling Stone reported that she did confirm sending Megan’s bodyguard three lines of text messages that night reading, “Help / Tory shot meg / 911,” stating in court that the texts were based on “assumptions.”
The defense called upon a man named Sean Kelly, who said he witnessed the alleged shooting from his bedroom window. Kelly testified that he first saw a muzzle flash by a woman’s hand — a claim that the defense hoped would cast doubt upon Megan’s story, according to Rolling Stone. But Kelly then said he witnessed a “smaller gentleman” shouting a “torrent of abuse” while firing several shots that seemingly led a woman to fall to the ground. Lanez’s lawyer has said his client is around 5-foot-2.
Megan has continued to face rampant harassment and ridicule over the alleged incident. As recently as November, Drake rapped on “Her Loss,” his joint album with 21 Savagethat “this b—- lie ’bout getting shots, but she still a stallion.” Megan responded on Twitteraccusing male rappers like Drake of “dog pil[ing] on a black woman” and demanding they “stop using my shooting for clout.”
According to the Times, Megan said while testifying that she was upset with how the narrative of “this whole story has not been about the shooting. It’s only been about who I been having sex with.”
She continued, “When people talk about Megan Thee Stallion getting shot, all the headlines are ‘Megan Thee Stallion is on trial,’ and I’m not on trial!”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.