After being convicted responsible for shooting Megan Thee Stallion during a drunken argument in July 2020, Tory Lanez has requested a fresh trial.
The rapper’s legal team formally began working on an appeal of his conviction on March 28th, according to Rolling Stone, citing a number of reasons that they claim “deprived” him of a “fair trial.”
The central argument of the petition is a September 2020 Instagram statement from Tory Lanez, who stated that Kelsey Harris, Megan’s former closest friend and aide, was not the shooter.
The lawsuit also included a statement from Joshua Farias, Lanez’s social media manager, who claims to have been the one to respond “that’s not true” to a remark on The Shade Room’s account that read: “People saying Kelsey shot her.”
The defense claims that during the December 2022 trial, the prosecution blindsided them with the Instagram comment, and that the judge should have prevented the jury from viewing it since the defense lacked enough time to find out who posted the reply.
The reply, according to Tory’s attorneys, amounted to an apparent admission by Kelsey that she did not fire the pistol, given that Kelsey and Megan had both denied being the one who shot Megan, which was the basis of Tory’s defense.
“The court erred on numerous questions of law in allowing the People to introduce this post, depriving defendant of a fair trial,” the motion reads. “The only acceptable remedy for this miscarriage of justice is a new trial.”
The complaint asserts that by introducing a shirtless image of the rapper and inquiring about “the big gun that Tory has tattooed at the center of his chest,” the prosecution wrongfully depicted Tory Lanez as “a gun-wielding career criminal.”
The use of Lanez’s AK-47 tattoo, which his attorneys claim is “an homage to Tupac Shakur” and “a symbol of Black unity and the fight against racism,” is said to be a violation of AB 2799, a new California statute passed after his trial that aims to bar “creative expression” from being used in court.
Moreover, according to Lanez’s legal team, the judge’s decision to permit the introduction of his rap lyrics and a music video during cross-examination if he took the stand “impermissibly chilled” his right to testify. This decision also contravenes AB 2799.
In the aforementioned 2022 song, “Cap,” the Sorry 4 What rapper can be seen sharpening a bloodied cleaver and then using it to slice off what seems to be a horse leg, seemingly as an insult to Megan Thee Stallion.
Prior to the hearing scheduled on April 10, the prosecution is anticipated to submit a response to the motion. Lanez, who may spend up to 22 years in jail, was scheduled to be sentenced on that day, but it has been reported that both parties have agreed to postpone it.
The fresh request is filed while Tory Lanez’s legal representation undergoes yet another shift. On Wednesday, it was revealed that David Kenner, the well-known defense lawyer famed for helping Snoop Dogg win his 1993 murder case, had left his team due to a “scheduling conflict.”
After breaking company with George Mgdesyan, who served as his attorney during the trial, Tory recruited David Kenner in January. Jose Baez and Matthew Barhoma will continue to serve as the rapper’s legal counsel.