Megan Thee Stallion’s friend and former assistant, Kelsey Harris, is expected to testify that she saw Tory Lanez fire the shots that left Megan bleeding from her feet following an argument in July 2020.
The trial in the high-profile case began in Los Angeles on Monday (December 12), in which Tory has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges: assault with a firearm causing great bodily injury; concealing a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
If convicted, the Toronto-born rapper faces up to 22 years and eight months in prison, as well as deportation back to Canada.
In his opening statement to jurors, Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Alexander Bott said that Harris, who has since become estranged from Megan following the shooting and was a wildcard leading up to the trial, will take the stand and share her first-person account of the fateful night, according to Rolling Stone.
“Kelsey will tell you that she just saw her close friend get shot by the defendant,” Bott said, adding that she rushed to Megan’s side as the Houston rapper lay bleeding in a driveway in the Hollywood Hills, where the trio had attended a party at Kylie Jenner’s house.
The prosecutor claimed that Harris approached Tory Lanez (real name Daystar Peterson) after he had fired the five rounds. The rapper allegedly “physically assaulted” Harris, pulling her by her hair and striking her with either a punch or a slap.
According to Bott, Tory brandished the gun after Megan “insulted his skills as a musical artist.” Bott also conceded that Megan and Tory had “been intimate” prior to the shooting, contradicting Megan’s previous claim that she “didn’t have a sexual relationship” with the rapper.
After getting back into the car along with Megan and Tory, Harris hurriedly sent three text messages to Megan’s bodyguard, Justin Edison, at 4:27 a.m., which were shown to jurors. “Help[.] Tory Shot Meg[.] 911,” the messages read.
The prosecutor also brought up Tory’s previously leaked apology text to Megan, as well as his recorded jail phone call to Harris, to further suggest his guilt.
“Meg I know u prolly never gone to talk to me again,” Tory wrote in the texts. “But I genuinely want you to know I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart[.] And I was just too drunk[.] None the less shit should have never happened and I can’t change what did. I just feel horrible.”
According to Bott, Edison visited Tory’s residence the day after the shooting to retrieve some of Megan’s belongings, where the rapper essentially confessed to being the gunman.
“Justin will tell you that the defendant admitted much of what he admitted in the call and the text, that he was the triggerman that night, that he did the shooting,” he told jurors. “But he said he was just shooting in the air, and shooting at the ground. But importantly, he told Justin he was the person who fired the gun.”
In his dueling opening statement, Tory Lanez’s defense lawyer, George Mgdesyan, cast doubt on Megan Thee Stallion’s version of events and presented the theory that Kelsey Harris was the one who fired the gun.
Mgdesyan, who previously told the court that the defense plans to present evidence to back up their theory, told jurors that a neighbor who purportedly witnessed some of the incident from a nearby balcony reported seeing a muzzle flash closest to Harris.
Tory’s lawyer also accused the LAPD of failing to properly investigate Harris as the possible shooter. He said that former lead investigator Det. Ryan Stogner opted not to test the weapon for Harris’ DNA or fingerprints, despite her testing positive for gun shot residue. (Tory also tested positive for gun shot residue.)
“Detective Stogner didn’t think it was important,” the defense attorney said, adding that “we’ll never know” what the results would’ve shown “because the detective on this case refused to do it.”
As for the argument that led to the shooting, Mgdesyan claimed Megan became “jealous” after Tory hung out with Kylie Jenner in the pool at the July 12 party and didn’t want to leave her house.
The lawyer said that when his client eventually agreed to leave the party with Megan and Harris, the alcohol-fueled fighting escalated in the car when Tory “blurted out” that he and Megan had been intimate.
Harris became “enraged” as she, too, had been in a sexual relationship with Tory. Harris allegedly complained that Megan had a history of hooking up with men she was seeing behind her back, including DaBaby and NBA star Ben Simmons.
Simmons appeared to deny the allegations on Monday by posting a video of Rick Ross yelling “false accusations” on his Instagram Story.
Megan Thee Stallion is set to testify in court on Tuesday (December 13). The trial is expected to last for approximately 10 days.