Megan Thee Stallion takes the stand in Tory Lanez trial with support from demonstrators

Megan Thee Stallion took the stand on Tuesday morning in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, eventually confronting Canadian rapper Tory Lanez, more than two years after he allegedly shot and killed her in the Hollywood Hills.

Wearing a purple suit, the “Savage” and “WAP” hitmaker – real name Megan Pete – entered the courtroom around 11:15 a.m. and got emotional almost immediately after Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. atty Kathy Ta asked her if she knew Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson.

“I just don’t feel good … I can’t believe I have to come in here and do this,” said Pete, 27, after Ta asked her if she was nervous.

Peterson, 30, was charged with assault with a firearm, illegal possession of a firearm and negligent surrender of a gun for shooting Pete in the feet in July 2020. If convicted according to the charges, he faces more than 22 years in prison.

Pete said Tuesday she was driving away from a party at Kylie Jenner’s house with Peterson, his bodyguard, and Kelsey Harris, a longtime friend of Pete’s, when an argument broke out in their SUV on Nichols Canyon Road, authorities said . Peterson was upset that Pete asked him to leave the party, she said Tuesday.

Peterson then turned around and told Pete she had to “stop” lying to Harris about their relationship.

Pete told the court that she and Peterson had become friends in the months leading up to the shooting and bonded over the loss of their mothers together. They also had an occasional sexual relationship, which Pete says Harris first learned about in that SUV.

Harris had a “crush” on Peterson, according to Pete, and after the revelation about their sex life, the argument spiraled out of control. Peterson called both women “sluts and hoes,” Pete testified Tuesday, and then the two began to argue about the state of their musical careers.

Pete asked to be let out of the car. But as she walked away from the vehicle, Peterson reportedly fired five shots at her and yelled, “Dance, bitch!” resulting in Pete sustaining wounds on her feet.

“I’m in shock. I’m afraid. I hear the gun go off and I can’t believe he’s shooting at me,” Pete said Tuesday.

The group drove away from the area while a bleeding Pete tried to stanch the wound with towels in the back seat. Pete said Tuesday that Peterson immediately promised any woman $1 million if they didn’t tell police about the incident, and claimed he was on probation for a previous gun misdemeanor.

Peterson’s attorney, George Mgdesyan, has repeatedly said his client was never on parole.

Minutes later, Los Angeles police officers stopped the car on Hollywood Boulevard. Dramatic police body camera footage shown in court showed all four occupants of the car, including a limping, bloodied Pete, being brought to the ground and arrested by officers on the street.

Pete initially did not report the shooting. On Tuesday, Pete reiterated her claim that she does not feel comfortable speaking to the LAPD, particularly in the summer of 2020 after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

“At the time we’re at the height of police brutality … I felt like if I said this man just shot me, maybe they would shoot first and ask questions later,” Pete said. “I don’t feel safe in the car. I don’t feel safe with the police either.”

Pete also noted that “working with cops isn’t really acceptable in the black community.”

Weeks later, in an Instagram video, she publicly accused Peterson of shooting her. Peterson has denied any wrongdoing, and in a number of songs he’s released since his arrest, has suggested that the “Savage” rapper’s team “framed” him for the attack.

Supporters gather outside the Los Angeles courthouse in support of Megan Thee Stallion.

Supporters gather outside the Los Angeles courthouse in support of Megan Thee Stallion.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Mgdesyan said the case was about “jealousy” and suggested the fight in the car took place between a highly intoxicated Pete and her once-close friend Harris. Although he hasn’t said with any authority that Harris fired the gun — which has been a popular theory among Peterson’s most ardent supporters — he has maintained that his client’s DNA was not found on the gun used in the attack.

But prosecutors have produced a prison call from Peterson, in which he apologized for his behavior the night of the shooting, admitted he was drunk and expressed concern that after what happened, Pete “never” would speak to him again. However, at no point does Peterson specifically admit to firing a gun.

On Tuesday, Pete said Peterson had contacted her multiple times to apologize, including a call from a phone number she didn’t recognize as he described seeing video of her post-shooting expressing “the pain in her eyes”.

“Why are you weird? You know you shot me and now you’re watching me?” Pete asked on Tuesday.

While Harris and Pete are estranged, Harris is also expected to testify and confirm a text message she sent shortly after the attack which, according to Pete’s personal attorney Alex Spiro, reads “Tory shot Meg”.

The trial is expected to last until early next week, and it’s unclear if Peterson will testify. Pete is scheduled to return to the stand Tuesday afternoon.

Peterson didn’t make eye contact with Pete when she entered the courtroom on Tuesday, but took copious notes while she spoke. He was flanked in the hallway outside the courtroom by at least a dozen supporters, including his young son, who was present when Pete testified.

A small group of protesters holding signs that read “I Stand With Megan” stood near the Temple Street entrance to the courthouse, where Pete arrived just before 9am and entered the courthouse.

Jaki Murillo, a youth mentor at the Young Women’s Freedom Center, said she felt the need to show up Tuesday because she sees it as a frustrating refusal by male hip-hop artists to believe Pete. Last month, Drake released a song with lyrics that many interpreted as casting doubt on Pete’s claims.

“We’re here because a lot of black and brown women are asked twice, not once,” Murillo said when they make allegations of domestic violence.

Murillo said she was inspired by Pete’s decision to speak out and press charges against Peterson, despite perceived opposition to her in the hip-hop industry.

“That’s why I respect her. She’s still going through this after all of that,” Murillo said. “She gives other girls hope to speak out.”

Pete also raised the idea that the hip-hop industry tends to be male-dominated and that she feared reporting Peterson could actively harm her burgeoning career.

“This whole situation in the industry is like a big boys club,” she testified. “As I say to any of you, now you’re all going to hate me.”

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-12-13/megan-thee-stallion-takes-the-stand-in-torey-lanez-trial Megan Thee Stallion takes the stand in Tory Lanez trial with support from demonstrators

Alley Einstein

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