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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Mismatched Testimony and a Missing Bodyguard: The Latest in the Tory Lanez Trial

The rapper's alleged shooting of Megan Thee Stallion has spawned a trial that’s tough to keep up with. Here’s what we know so far.

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Image for article titled Mismatched Testimony and a Missing Bodyguard: The Latest in the Tory Lanez Trial
Photo: Rodin Eckenroth, Roy Rochlin (Getty Images)

Since Tory Lanez’ felony assault trial began last week, staggering testimony has told a convoluted story of a largely uncomplicated incident: On July 12, 2020, Megan Thee Stallion (Megan Pete) was shot on a residential street in Los Angeles following an altercation amongst former friends. After the group—which included Megan, her assistant Kelsey Harris, rapper Tory Lanez (Daystar Peterson), and his driver—was apprehended by police, Pete underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments embedded in both of her feet and was hospitalized overnight. Some of the bullet fragments still remain.

Midway through the proceedings, there should be no lingering questions that Megan was shot. What remains, however, are startling inconsistencies in key witness testimony, online misogynoir, and a lot of unanswered questions—namely, where Justin Edison (Megan’s former bodyguard and another crucial witness who prosecutors refer to as “missing”) is.

If you’ve lost track of yet another trial highlighting the range of harm that can be done, even to the most high-profile women, here’s what we’ve learned thus far:

The Altercation

On July 12, 2020, Megan and then-assistant and best friend, Kelsey Harris, attended a gathering at Kylie Jenner’s mansion. During testimony, Harris recalled six people hanging out around Jenner’s pool with “a lot of alcohol involved.” At one point in the evening, Harris told the court, she entered the home to “pass out” and upon waking up, noted that Lanez had arrived and was “flirting” with Jenner. Megan, she said, was drinking a lot and seemed “off,” though she didn’t specify further.

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Later in the evening, Megan said, she wanted to leave the party which caused an argument she likened to “normal friend stuff” as no one else was ready to. Harris, too, testified that Megan wanted to leave with Lanez in his vehicle but he didn’t want to leave.

Instead, the two women left together in Lanez’ car, but Harris told the court they returned to the gathering after Megan realized she’d left a shoe at Jenner’s home. (Megan didn’t recall returning to the gathering in her testimony.) Harris said she remained in the vehicle while Megan retrieved the item, and when she returned to the car, Lanez was with her.

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“Apparently a fight or something happened. She rushed out with Tory,” Harris testified. “She was like, ‘Bitch, Kylie said we got to get the fuck out.’ I was like, ‘I’m confused.’”

The altercation escalated in the car, with Harris recalling that she, Megan, and Lanez called each other names. Consistent with Megan’s testimony, she told the court that Lanez told Megan something to the effect of “stop lying,” about their relationship. Megan testified that she and Lanez bonded over the loss of their mothers and occasionally had a sexual relationship that Harris—who testified she once had a relationship with Lanez—didn’t know about.

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“I don’t know what’s going on,” Harris said. “He’s just saying that they had a relationship, they were having a relationship. An argument ensues and just continues. Me and her are arguing about her disloyalty.”

Both Megan and Harris testified that the argument ratcheted up, with Lanez calling both the women, “bitches and hoes.” Ultimately, both women testified that Megan asked to be let out of the vehicle. Megan recalled getting back into the vehicle, fearing that someone might recognize her on the street.

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“I realize, oh my god, I’m literally at the peak of being so famous right now, and I’m in a thong (bikini), and I look crazy, and if anybody sees me walking down the street like this, it’s going to be bad for me,” she testified.

Once back in the vehicle, the altercation continued as Megan and Lanez traded insults about the others’ artistry. As the car neared her home, she then asked to get out again.

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The Shooting

Once outside the vehicle, Megan told the court that as she walked away, she turned her head to see Lanez’ arm hanging out of the open window as he fired five times. “Dance, bitch!” she recalled he said. She then remembered hearing screaming and detailed falling to the ground and crawling to a nearby driveway.

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“I froze. I just felt shock. I felt hurt,” she testified. “I looked down at my feet and I see all of this blood.”

Meanwhile, Harris—who began her testimony by invoking the Fifth Amendmentdidn’t confirm seeing Lanez fire the gun and nearly refused to answer a question from the prosecutor, Kathy Ta, as to whether or not Lanez threatened her in the car. Harris, who was granted “use immunity,” meaning her testimony could not be used to prosecute her in this case, often gave befuddling responses on the stand. However, last Friday, the prosecution was permitted to play Harris’ damning 80-minute recorded interview with the team from September in which she offered a blow-by-blow account of the shooting. Lanez, she said, did threaten her as she began defending Megan during the argument.

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“He said, ‘My n—, I’ll shoot you,’” Harris told prosecutors. “He said that to me, and he reached like he was going to grab something, reached toward the middle console, but he never pulled anything.” Peterson never opened the console, she told prosecutors. Inconsistent with her testimony on the stand, she noted seeing Lanez repeatedly fire the gun—angled “down”—at Megan.

“I get out of my side and no sooner do you know, you start hearing gunshots going off. I looked up maybe about the second or third gunshot. You see Tory, he’s now in the front seat. I guess he must have jumped over in a smooth transition, and he’s leaning over the door,” she testified. “He’s shooting over the top of the door,” Harris explained. “(He’s) leaning over the front passenger door, and he was shooting the gun.”

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Harris, who told prosecutors in the interview that she, too, had exited that car, described being close to the gunfire.

“(Megan) was walking away when this happened, but by the third or fourth shot, she was facing towards us, and I would describe it as like a deer in headlights (look),” she explained to prosecutors.

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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 the hospital for surgery.

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During the final day of her testimony, Harris attempted to recant her prior statements, saying she wasn’t being “100% truthful” in interviews with the prosecution. But texts sent by Harris—specifically one that corroborated the prosecution’s account that Harris approached Lanez during the altercation and he assaulted her—shown in court last week told a different story. One such message reads: “Should I get a scan at urgent care? My chest is hurting...My left side, back & neck hurt, but that’s from the fighting & him dragging me out of the car by my hair.”

On the contrary, during last week’s opening statements, Lanez’ defense strongly suggested Harris could be the shooter. DNA results of the handgun were inconclusive, but the firearm was found “warm” and in “slide-lock position,” indicating it had recently been used and that all of the rounds were fired, according to police.

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The Aftermath and Apologies From Lanez

Though rumors have abounded regarding Megan’s injuries, Dr. Lee Haruno, chief resident in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s orthopedic surgery department, testified last week that bullet fragments were removed from both feet.

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During her testimony, Megan told the court Lanez made several attempts to apologize for the altercation—even trying to bribe her and Harris not to speak of the shooting.

“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.” Harris, too, hinted at Lanez offering them money.

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Over the weekend, Megan’s bodyguard, Justin Edison—who was supposed to testify in the trial on Friday—mysteriously went “missing,” according to prosecutors. However, Edison reportedly told prosecutors that Lanez also apologized to him for shooting his client in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Edison, according to Rolling Stone, told authorities that Peterson recalled drunkenly firing multiple shots at the ground before Megan “collapsed.” Edison has only recently been unresponsive to prosecutors, the outlet noted.

Testimony is expected to continue this week, though it’s not known who will take the stand next. Lanez—who has pleaded not guilty—faces 22 years in prison and has been 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.