According to Rolling Stone, the Canadian rapper’s legal team officially kickstarted their efforts to appeal his conviction on Wednesday (March 28), citing multiple grounds that they say “deprived” him of a “fair trial.”
The filing includes a declaration from Lanez’s social media manager, Joshua Farias, who claims that he was the one who replied “that’s not true” to a comment on The Shade Room’s account that read: “People saying Kelsey shot her.”
Tory’s lawyers argue prosecutors ambushed them with the Instagram comment during the December 2022 trial, and that the judge should have blocked jurors from seeing it as the defense did not have sufficient time to investigate who wrote the reply.
Given that Tory’s defense rested on the theory that Kelsey was the one who shot Megan — an allegation that both Megan and Kelsey have denied — his lawyers claim that the comment amounted to an apparent admission by Tory that she didn’t fire the gun.
“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 filing also claims that prosecutors unfairly painted Tory Lanez as “a gun-wielding career criminal” by introducing a shirtless photo of the rapper and asking a witness if he had seen “the big gun that Tory has tattooed at the center of his chest.”
Lanez’s lawyers argue that the reference to his AK-47 tattoo — which they point out is “an homage to Tupac Shakur” and “a symbol of Black unity and the fight against racism” — violates AB 2799, a new California law introduced after his trial that seeks to exclude “creative expression” in criminal proceedings.
They also claim that Lanez’s right to testify was “impermissibly chilled” when the judge allowed prosecutors to introduce his rap lyrics and a music video under cross-examination if he took the stand — a ruling that also violates AB 2799, according to his legal team.
The video in question, 2022’s “Cap,” shows the Sorry 4 What rapper sharpening a bloody cleaver before using it to chop up what looks like a horse leg — an apparent taunt aimed at Megan Thee Stallion.
Prosecutors are expected to file a reply to the motion ahead of a planned hearing on April 10. Lanez, who faces up to 22 years in prison, was due to be sentenced that day, but both sides have reportedly agreed to push sentencing to a later date.
The new motion arrives amid yet another change to Tory Lanez’s legal counsel. It was announced on Wednesday that David Kenner — the high-profile defense attorney who famously helped Snoop Dogg beat his 1993 murder case — is no longer a part of his team due to a “scheduling conflict.”
Tory hired David Kenner in January after parting ways with George Mgdesyan, who represented him during the trial. The rapper will continue to be represented by Jose Baez and Matthew Barhoma.
“I would like to thank Mr. Kenner for his hard work and wise counsel,” Tory said in a statement shared on Baez’s Instagram Stories.