The Biggest Questions Ahead of Tory Lanez’s Trial

Photo: Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Update, Friday, December 23 at 6:55 p.m.: Tory Lanez has been convicted and found guilty of all three charges in the trial over the 2020 shooting of Megan Thee Stallion.

Original story follows.

Tory Lanez will face a jury more than two years after he allegedly shot Megan Thee Stallion. The Los Angeles criminal case against Lanez entered a decisive phase on December 5 when jury selection began in his trial for allegedly shooting Megan Thee Stallion in the foot on July 12, 2020, after a pool party at Kylie Jenner’s house. Lanez was arrested on a concealed-weapons charge following the alleged incident, but was not arrested for shooting Megan. While Meg initially didn’t disclose what happened — some early reports said she was injured by broken glass — she came forward with allegations against Lanez in an Instagram Live on August 20, 2020. During her livestream, she claimed that a rep for Lanez was intentionally trying to spread false information about the incident and disclosed that she was hospitalized and had to have surgery after Lanez allegedly shot her in the foot after he was pulled over and arrested for concealed carry. On October 20 of that year, prosecutors announced felony-assault and gun charges against Lanez.

Since then, the criminal proceedings have been characterized by twists, turns, and social-media drama from each of the fan bases, including brutal cyberbullying of Megan Thee Stallion.

In the lead-up to the trial, Lanez found himself in other legal situations. On April 5, 2022, Lanez was “handcuffed and remanded into custody” after Judge David Herriford found that he violated pretrial orders that barred him from harassing or contacting Megan. Herriford also said that Lanez violated a pretrial order that prohibited him from sharing case info with outside parties. Lanez’s bail was upped to $350,000, and he was subsequently released, Rolling Stone reported. Then came an alleged September 18, 2022, incident. R&B singer August Alsina alleged on Instagram that Lanez beat him up in Chicago, and he posted a picture of his bloodied face. Lanez responded by sharing an Instagram Story saying he was in the studio. During an October 26 hearing in L.A., prosecutors claimed Lanez violated his bail, TMZ reported. Lanez’s lawyer contended there were no charges resulting from Alsina’s claims. The judge nonetheless ordered him under house arrest pending trial, but then decided on December 5 to release him, saying, “The main reason is that during trial, it’s difficult to have a client who’s not accessible,” Rolling Stone reported. Lanez has maintained his innocence.

Below, experts describe what could happen during the long-awaited, high-profile trial as it kicks off.

What charges will Tory Lanez face for allegedly shooting Megan Thee Stallion?

When Lanez’s trial kicks off, he faces one felony count each of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, personal use of a firearm, and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. Lanez also faces a gun allegation that he personally inflicted great bodily injury, the L.A. District Attorney’s office said. On December 6, Rolling Stone’s Nancy Dillon reported that he had been hit with a third felony charge. The L.A. District Attorney’s office confirmed to Vulture that one felony count of discharging a firearm with gross negligence was added to Lanez’s case.

Megan didn’t come forward right away — will that affect the trial’s outcome at all?

“It happens frequently that people change their story. Some of it is shock, and in talking to investigators, people get very nervous, and often they’ll not fully think through what they’re saying,” said Rachel Fiset, an L.A. criminal-defense attorney and C-founder of Zweiback, Fiset & Zalduendo LLP. “So you’ll have small misrepresentations in a case like this, where there’s a relationship involved”; sometimes one person might be trying to protect a person they’re close with — even if they’ve been victimized by them.

In an April 2022 interview with CBS News’s Gayle King, Megan denied having an intimate relationship with Lanez but said they had been pals. “We were friends, we hung out like every day,” she said. “His mom passed, too, so I felt like we were bonding over that.”

Although it’s common for victims to revisit what they have — or have not — told police, it could be a big issue at the trial. “It’s not good for the prosecution,” said Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Trial Lawyers. An omission can be just as harmful as a misrepresentation, and Lanez’s lawyers are going to try tripping her up during cross-examination. “The defense is going to come after her very aggressively.”

In the Instagram video where Megan described what allegedly happened, she admitted that she didn’t tell cops what occurred initially, saying she thought the LAPD was “aggressive,” while recognizing she should have been forthcoming immediately. “I didn’t get cut by no glass, but let me tell you why they’re saying that,” Megan said. “When the police came because the neighbors called the police … the police come — I’m scared. All this shit going on with the police … I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want the police to shoot me cause there’s a n- - - - with a gun in the car with me.”

How much prison could Lanez get?

If the jury finds Lanez guilty on all counts, he faces up to 22 years and eight months in California state prison.

Can Lanez get deported to Canada after the trial?

Lanez is from Brampton, a city in Ontario, Canada, and there can be big consequences for noncitizen U.S. residents if they’re convicted of certain felonies. “A felony crime of violence can potentially get you deported,” said Rahmani, adding that violent crimes are considered “deportable offenses under the immigration code.” This is why some noncitizen U.S. residents go on trial even if it might not go their way. “Sometimes people go to trial not necessarily because they care about the potential sentence they’re getting in the United States,” he said. “They might be getting a life sentence in Canada or Mexico depending on the specific findings.” The possibility of deportation if convicted, however, should not be confused with prior false internet rumors about Lanez’s immigration status. At one point during the case, untrue gossip claimed that Lanez was kicked out of the U.S.

The Biggest Questions Ahead of Tory Lanez’s Trial