tory lanez and His “giant ego” couldn’t handle being humiliated and betrayed by Megan Thee Stallion two years earlier at a California curbside, so he opened fire with a semiautomatic pistol, hit Megan in both legs, and then “manipulated” her into silence. began doing, a prosecutor said in his closing arguments on Thursday.
Lenz’s defense attorney, meanwhile, used his closing address to the jurors to challenge Megan’s credibility. He also tried to convince jurors that the lack of DNA conclusively linking Lenz to the 9mm handgun found at his feet was sufficient to acquit the “Love” singer on the basis of reasonable doubt.
After hearing a summary of the duel, a jury of five men and seven women deliberated for three hours on Thursday and agreed to resume on Friday rather than wait until the holiday weekend.
Lenz has pleaded not guilty to felony possession of a firearm; concealing a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. If convicted, he could face up to 22 years in prison and deportation to Canada.
Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Cathy Ta had the last word in her closing arguments Thursday morning, telling jurors she hoped Megan “resonated” with them during her testimony last week.
“Not a day goes by when someone isn’t calling me a liar or shaming me for being a grown woman and having sex. This whole story is not about the shooting, it is only about who Tory is having sex with,” Megan said in testimony presented on a screen and read aloud by the prosecutor.
Ta then rebuked Lanz’s defense attorney, George Magdesyan, for “name-dropping” in his own closing argument two other well-known men who claimed to have had some sort of sexual relationship with Megan.
“He said the matter was about sexual relations. it is not true. This case has always been about the shooting,” Tait argued. “Why did the defense do this? They want to play to age-old prejudices and biases. But you’re all better than that.
She said the case was “not about anybody’s sex life” and urged jurors to see the evidence and sworn testimony. She said that it was Lenz’s “crushed ego” that led to the shooting. “(Megan) disrespected his rapping. She’s disrespecting him as a rapper, and that pissed him off. He had a huge ego and couldn’t take disrespect. And how dare he to go away. So he maintained his dominance. He was going to show her.
During her harrowing turn on the witness stand, Megan’s reaction to the shooting transforms her from a victim to a “villain” and at times contemplates suicide. She said it also affected her relationship with boyfriend Pardisson Fontaine, leaving her worried and embarrassed about what she might encounter online.
In a message posted to her Instagram stories on Thursday, Fontaine expressed her support for women moving forward in the face of adversity.
“For any woman especially of color who is facing injustice, I feel for you,” she wrote. “When you find the courage to speak out.. feel like you will be ridiculed.. your credibility will be questioned.. your entire past will be put under a magnifying glass.. in an instant you can go from victim to another Are the defendants in the public eye.. with any one daughter sister mother niece or aunt.. I pray for their safety.. I pray for their cover.. I would not wish this on anyone.
Ta said that Megan became involved in a coverup early in the investigation because Lenz was “manipulating” her and Megan’s former best friend, Kelsey Harris, who was also present during the shooting.
According to Magadesyan, Harris shot Megan after Lenz revealed that he had been sleeping with both women. Lanez reportedly made the statement during a drunken brawl inside his Cadillac Escalade after a pool party at Kylie Jenner’s home.
“The whole defense theory is that Megan lied because it was more convenient from a PR perspective to say that Tori was the shooter rather than Kelsey. Make sense of it,” Ta challenged the jury, adding that Megan’s decision was ultimately to move forward. And naming her attacker was incredibly difficult for her in the male-dominated rap music industry.
“Every guy who’s in a powerful position in the music industry, even guys who aren’t rappers, never cared what my side of the story was. They immediately took the guy’s side and Giving me hell for the last three years,” Megan said last week in testimony that Ta read to the jury.
“He’s a fellow rapper in the industry. He is supported by the Boys Club. It would have been easier for him to say, ‘My crazy assistant did this to me.’ It’s too hard for her to come out against Tory,” Ta argued. “She had to think about it because she was worried about what it would cost, and it cost her dearly.”
Ta highlighted three text messages sent to Megan’s off-site bodyguard within five minutes of the July 12, 2020, shooting. — in a sophisticated plot backed by Megan to cover her tracks.
Ta said, “Megan would have to be essentially a psychopath to frame someone who didn’t shoot her for a not-so-subtle PR (move).” “You have to consider that these two people are framing someone, and they are both criminal masterminds. It doesn’t make any sense.
She turned heads over the defense’s claim that Megan may have been lying when she testified that Lenz, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, offered her $1 million and said he was on “probation” and that the sirens were on. But was afraid of going to jail.
Magadessian was adamant that his client was not on probation at the time of the shooting and that a court-ordered diversion program in a separate Florida case had expired in 2017.
“Whether he is on probation in 2020 or not, it doesn’t matter. what does it matter that told Megan was on probation because he was molesting her,” Ta said. “He tries to appeal to her sympathy. ‘I have a gun charge, I’m on probation, please don’t say anything.’ It is a pattern of manipulation that witnesses are asked to keep a lid on everything.
Ta also focused heavily on homeowner Sean Kelly, who testified this week that he looked out his bedroom window and saw the shooting. Kelly said he believed he saw an initial muzzle flash near the hand of one of the “girls” and then Peterson’s volley of shots.
“When he talks about Kelsey, it’s a little vague, he’s not completely clear,” Ta argued Thursday, calling Kelley’s claim that the first shot was directed at the vehicle “impossible.” Was.
“There is no physical evidence that there was a shooting inside the car. No broken glass, no bullets, no shell casings, no smell of gunpowder,” Ta said.
He urged jurors to look closely at the transcript of Kelly’s testimony as he carefully reviewed it and determined that Kelly got more specific when talking about Peterson.
“He was holding something, and it flashed and made a loud sound like a gunshot,” Kelly testified, according to a transcript of Ta’s on a screen.
“You’ll never hear Sean Kelly say he ever saw Kelsey holding an object,” Ta argued. “He said it twice about the defendant.”
On Thursday afternoon, jurors requested a full reading of Kelly’s testimony in its entirety, apparently heeding Ta’s request.
In his final words to the jury, Magadesyan said that his client also suffered post-gunshot damage. He also portrayed Peterson as a victim of bias.
“The story is better if the black man shot a black woman. This is what this case is about,” he argued.
Magadesyan also used his argument to emphasize the fact that LAPD investigators never tested the gun for Harris’s DNA.
“From whom did they take the DNA? my client. Why? My client voluntarily gave his DNA, why? Why didn’t they take DNA from (the driver) or Kelsey?” He asked.
And he emphasized the fact that Peterson’s DNA was not found on the gun’s magazine and that testing on the pistol also yielded no definitive hit, meaning prosecutors could not say it was there.
“Is having DNA not in itself a reasonable doubt?” he argued. “If Kelsey Harris’ DNA had been on that gun, would we be here today?”
But Ta reminded the jurors that even Peterson’s DNA had not been excluded. It was an inconclusive result, two experts testified. The prosecutor also explained why Harris’s DNA was not tested.
“By the time the DNA evidence was taken, there was already a clear suspect in the case. We had a prison call. We had the text of the apology,” Ta argued. “DNA is not this smoking gun. Sometimes it leads to something, sometimes it doesn’t. Here, it is inconclusive. This in itself does not create reasonable doubt.
Both Ta and Magadessian accused the other side of failing to have the driver, Jauquan Smith, as a witness. Smith was in the courthouse building on Wednesday, but because he had never previously testified in the case, prosecutors asked for a three-day continuation over the holiday weekend to prepare. Magadesyan told Rolling stone The defense chose not to summon him out of concern that a delay might lead to a mistrial.
“Who is Joquan?” Ta asked in his final closing. “Quan is Tory’s guy. So when the defense makes a big point about why people haven’t called him, ask yourself this: They have the power to call witnesses, just like we do. They can’t call Quan, Tory. They could have called the man to support their defense that Kelsey shot Meg. Why didn’t they?”
She said jurors should consider the evidence that was examined and accepted, including Peterson’s recorded prison call to Harris on the morning of the shooting.
“Assuming he’s the shooter, at no point does he say, ‘Kelsey, what happened? What were you doing?’ And it’s allegedly someone who’s looking for Meg. At no point in that call did he suggest that Kelsey did anything. Only that he’s apologizing,” Ta said.
Ta also addressed Harris’ startled about-face on the witness stand last week, where she dismissed a September 2022 recorded statement to prosecutors identifying Peterson as the triggerman. She suggested that Harris caught “court amnesia” due to some unknown outside influence.
“Think about what happened. She was obviously distraught. You saw the video of her arrest. She was crying and hyperventilating,” Ta said, disputing the notion that Harris had tried to frame Peterson. sent texts to Megan’s bodyguard, Justin Harris.
“So the idea is that four minutes after the shooting, she texted to Justin — not to the police — but to Justin, that ‘Tory shot Meg’ to cover herself, (that would be) 4-D Chess. playing,” Ta said. “She must be thinking ten steps ahead, not two steps ahead. … She wasn’t protecting herself, she was keeping stuff in the house, so she texted Justin, not the police.
In his own closing, Magadesyan had a different explanation for why Harris was crying in the video of her arrest: “She’s the one who shot her friend. She is upset, she is crying as she realized what she did. That’s why she is crying.
Jurors left at 4 p.m. PT after three hours of deliberations on Thursday and are due to return on Friday.