Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Megan Thee Stallion Testifies That Tory Lanez Tried to Bribe Her to Deny He Shot Her

“I can’t believe I have to come up here and do this,” Megan said as she began her testimony on Tuesday.

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It’s been over two years since Megan Thee Stallion accused Tory Lanez (identified in court as Daystar Peterson) of shooting her. Ever since, much of the public has coalesced in the most insidious ways: speculating, spewing a vitriol all-too-specific to Black women, and, in many corners of the internet, lauding Lanez. Megan has plainly detailed the events of July 12, 2020—and their fallout—via Instagram live, Twitter, and in high profile tell-alls in Rolling Stone and CBS Mornings. And on Tuesday, she finally testified against Lanez in court.

“I can’t believe I have to come up here and do this,” Megan said as she began her testimony in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom. During the prosecution’s questioning, she once again recounted the night she was shot. She also revealed, for the first time, that Lanez bribed her to remain silent.

“I can’t go to jail, I’m already on probation,” Megan recalled Lanez pleading that night. She added that he told her and Harris, “I’ll give you a million dollars. Don’t tell on me.”

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Lanez, who faces 22 years in prison, is charged with one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. He has long alluding that the cause of the altercation was jealousy, tweeting in February 2022 that he slept with both Megan and her friend, Kelsey Harris. During opening statements on Monday, George Mgdesyan, Lanez’s defense attorney, bolstered that narrative but claimed that Kylie Jenner was also a subject of Megan’s supposed envy.

It’s been previously reported that Jenner’s home was the venue for the pool party that preceded the altercation between Lanez, Harris, and Megan. Mgdesyan’s claims that Jenner was another cause of jealousy, however, are new. Per his account, Megan was “so upset and drunk and jealous” at the sight of Lanez with Jenner, that the reality star told her, “It’s time for you to leave.”

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Mgdesyan further alleged that Harris had a previous relationship with Lanez and Megan “went behind her back and started sleeping with him.” According to the defense, Megan and Harris allegedly then began to argue in the car after leaving together with Lanez. The altercation escalated, with Megan and Harris exiting the vehicle and allegedly becoming physical in the street. The attorney, who urged the jury to “keep an open mind” about “who got out of the car, how the fight started and who shot the gun,” said the fight was witnessed by a local resident who claimed he saw a woman holding a gun. In short: The defense team’s strategy appears to be placing the onus on the women involved—even strongly suggesting that Harris is the person who pulled the trigger.

Obviously, the prosecution’s opening statements and Megan’s testimony painted a starkly different portrait. Her attorney, Alexander Bott, told the court that the altercation escalated after Megan “insulted” Lanez’s skills as a musician and demanded to be let out of the car in which they were riding after Jenner’s party. The argument, according to Megan in April’s CBS sit-down, was a “normal” one among friends.

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“I was ready to go, and everybody else wasn’t ready to go. But that’s, like, normal friend stuff,” she told King. “So I get out of the car and it’s like everything happens so fast. And all I hear is this man screaming. And he said, ‘Dance, bitch!’ And he started shooting. And I’m just like, ‘Oh, my God.’ He shot a couple of times.”

On the stand, Megan reaffirmed her account, adding that the argument over leaving the party ratcheted up after Lanez told Megan to “stop lying” about their relationship. Harris, she said, had “a crush” on Lanez. Meanwhile, Megan and Lanez had bonded over the loss of their mothers, and occasionally, had a sexual relationship. (Megan had earlier denied their sexual relationship, but confirmed it in court.) The latter was revealed to Harris during the argument that night. Lanez then allegedly called the women “bitches and hoes,” before Megan asked to be let out of the vehicle.

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She then recalled exiting and, as she walked away, turned her head to see his arm hanging out of the open window as he fired five times. “Dance, bitch!” Megan once again recalled him saying. She then remembered hearing screaming and detailed falling to the ground and crawling to a nearby driveway.

Within about five minutes of the shooting, Harris texted one of Megan’s security guards, “Help,’’ “Tory shot meg,’’ and “911,’’ the prosecutor said. Megan, bleeding from both feet, eventually reentered the vehicle, which was subsequently stopped by Los Angeles police. Body cam footage shown in court confirmed that the vehicle’s occupants—including a limping and bloodied Megan—were told to get out of the car. Ultimately, Megan was taken by ambulance to a hospital for surgery.

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“Kelsey [Harris] will tell you that she just saw her close friend get shot by the defendant,” Bott said. Upon police involvement, the gun allegedly used by Lanez was recovered under the floorboard beneath Lanez’s seat and was still warm to the touch. Lanez and Harris both later tested positive for gunshot residue, though Megan said in court that she never saw Harris holding the firearm at any point.

“Kelsey, she’ll tell you she didn’t know if the defendant still had this gun,” Bott continued. “She didn’t know what the defendant was capable of, if he was going to continue his assault. Her defensive instincts kicked into gear, and she approached the defendant. She’ll tell you the defendant physically assaulted her at that point. He pulled her by her hair, and he either punched her or slapped her.”

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Megan has previously admitted to lying to police, telling officers and doctors that the injuries sustained were not from bullets as she wanted to protect everyone involved from possible police violence.

“At the time, we are at the height of police brutality...I felt like if I said this man has just shot me, they might shoot first and ask questions later,” she said. “I didn’t feel safe in the car. I knew I just had got shot but I don’t feel safe with police either.”

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“I didn’t want to see anybody die,” she added. At this point, prosecutors reportedly played footage that showed Megan in an ambulance, handcuffed to a gurney, in the immediate aftermath of being shot. In a 2021 hearing, LAPD Det. Ryan Stogner testified that following the shooting, she told him she was “extremely scared and embarrassed,’’ was “scared [Lanez] was going to get in trouble,’’ was concerned the police might shoot him, but was “sincere,’’ “visibly distraught’’ and “crying’’ when she named Lanez as the perpetrator.

“I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart...shit should have never happened and I can’t change what I did,” Lanez texted Megan following the shooting, per the prosecution. “Cuz I genuinely just got too drunk.” Megan claimed that this was not the only occasion Lanez showed remorse, noting that he attempted to contact her multiple times and, in one instance, from a phone number she didn’t recognize. The prosecution has also presented a jail house phone call from Lanez in which he apologized for his behavior on the night of shooting. Lanez’s defense countered that Lanez’s apologies were not in regard to shooting her.

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Lanez has been barred from contacting Megan in any capacity and was even put in jail in April after taunting her on Twitter. He remains out on a $350,000 bond and has been under house arrest and electronic monitoring while awaiting trial. He began this week’s proceedings holding hands with his young son, who has since accompanied him in court.

Megan has been vilified by Lanez fans and industry allies like Drake, a fact she noted on the stand on Tuesday. “This whole situation in the industry is like a big boys club,” she said. “Like I’m telling on one of y’all friends, now you’re all about to hate me.”

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“Because I was shot, I’ve been turned into some kind of villain, and he’s the victim,” she told the court later. “This has messed up my whole life.”

Outside the downtown Los Angeles courthouse, two dozen supporters from Gathering For Justice, a social justice organization, assembled in a show of support for Megan, holding a banner that read, “We Stand With Megan.”

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“I think what’s so telling about Tory Lanez’s case and Megan’s testimony today is that what we’ve known is now very visible on a large scale,” Luis Hernandez told Jezebel on a phone call. “For so long, Black women have been treated with disrespect, have not been allowed their their bodily autonomy, have been coerced and pushed to do things that were not within their means...so this case alone is symbolic of the plight of Black woman.”

“We are standing in Meghan’s corner and supporting her throughout the day, ensuring that she knows there’s a community of people who are here to support her,” he said.

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Just before her testimony began, #WeStandWithMegan began trending on Twitter, and in the lead up to the trial, other powerful activists and advocates have extended their solidarity. Recently, the Southern Black Girls & Women’s Consortium shared an open letter addressed to Megan, lauding her courage and condemning all violence against women. The letter has more than two dozen powerful signees, including #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson, Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), activist Tamika Mallory, and commentator Angela Rye.

Testimony is expected from Harris, and it’s speculated that Jenner and Lanez will also take the stand.