Tory Lanez’s new lawyer has a history of scoring major legal victories for rappers having previously helped Snoop Dogg beat his 1993 murder case.
The Toronto-born rapper overhauled his legal team earlier this month after being found guilty of shooting Megan Thee Stallion in 2020 following a high-profile trial in December.
Tory parted ways with his defense attorney George Mgdesyan and hired David Kenner as he gears up to appeal his conviction. “I don’t do appeals, so we had to get somebody on board to handle the appeal,” Mgdesyan explained to Rolling Stone’s Nancy Dillon of the move.
While there’s been plenty of talk surrounding Kenner’s history of representing Suge Knight in court, Law & Crime reporter Meghan Cuniff — who covered the Tory Lanez-Megan Thee Stallion trial — highlighted another of Kenner’s Death Row Records connections on Monday (January 9).
“Kenner’s biggest claim to fame appears to be getting Snoop Dogg acquitted of murder aka ‘murder was the case that they gave me,'” she wrote on Twitter. “He told me he has a video of Snoop at his 80th birthday party saying, ‘Without David Kenner, there’d be no Snoop Dogg.'”
Kenner's biggest claim to fame appears to be getting Snoop Dogg acquitted of murder aka "murder was the case that they gave me." He told me he has a video of Snoop at his 80th birthday party saying, "Without David Kenner, there'd be no Snoop Dogg." https://t.co/FIk3AuyHcQ
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) January 9, 2023
Kenner, now 81, represented Snoop Dogg during his high-profile 1996 murder trial, which centered on the shooting death of an L.A. gang member named Philip Woldemariam three years prior.
Snoop, along with his bodyguard McKinley Lee, was charged with first- and -second degree murder, as well as voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy to commit assault. Snoop faced an additional accessory-after-the-fact charge.
After six days of deliberations, the jury found Snoop and Lee not guilty on the murder charges. The Doggystyle rapper was famously photographed bowing his head and clasping his hands as if in prayer after the verdict was announced.
He also addressed the case on his 1993 song “Murder Was the Case,” as well as the short film and soundtrack of the same name the following year.
“They made the right decision,” Snoop, who was 24 at the time, told reporters while leaving the courthouse. “This has been an ordeal that has affected our lives for the past two-and-a-half years. I was just trying to figure out if I was going to be here to raise my son.”
50 Cent announced in December 2021 that he was developing a TV series about the trial called A Moment in Time: Murder was the Case. However, he later revealed that the series was “no longer in production at STARZ” and criticized the network for “drop[ping] the damn ball.”
As for Kenner’s history with Suge Knight, Cuniff pointed out that the veteran attorney didn’t represent the Death Row Records co-founder in the 2015 hit-and-run case that resulted in his 28-year prison sentence. “He represented him in a robbery case back in the 1990s and got him probation,” she explained.
Kenner’s Hip Hop ties run even deeper, with Nancy Dillon revealing that he is also currently representing Fugees member Pras Michel in his criminal conspiracy case alleging Pras helped Malaysian financier Jho Low covertly funnel money to U.S. politicians.
A court hearing has been set for Tuesday (January 10) to finalize Tory Lanez’s substitution of attorney, although any post-conviction motions are unlikely to be filed anytime soon.
Lanez faces up to 22 years and eight months in prison, as well as deportation to his native Canada. He is due to be sentenced on January 27.