LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jurors began deliberations on Thursday at the trial of rapper Tory Lanez, who was accused of shooting hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion in the foot.
The jury of seven women and five men debated for a little over three hours after hearing the final part of the closing argument of the defense, which began the day before, and a brief rebuttal from Los Angeles County prosecutors.
They have failed to reach a verdict and will return on Friday to continue negotiations on three felony charges brought against the 30-year-old Canadian rapper, who pleads not guilty: gross negligent discharge of firearms, assault with a semi-automatic firearm, and an unlicensed firearm loaded in a vehicle. Counts can lead to up to 22 years in prison and deportation.
Megan Thee Stallion, 27, legal name Megan Pete, said Lanez fired a pistol behind her feet as she drove away from an SUV in the Hollywood Hills and yelled at her to dance. in the summer of 2020. He had to have surgery to remove the lead fragments from his foot.
In the closing debates, prosecutors highlighted the courage it took to come forward and the harsh criticism it faced for doing so. They said he had no incentive to say anything but the truth.
Lanez’s lawyer claimed in closing that the shots were actually ignited by Megan’s then-best friend, Kelsey Harris, in a jealous fight over Lanez trying to stop the shooting. Lawyer George Mgdesyan claims Megan created a more sympathetic narrative by blaming the shooting on Lanez.
Harris denied being the shooter and previously identified Lanez as the person holding the gun. His lawyer declined to comment on his involvement, in an email.
On Thursday, the jury requested a re-reading of the testimony of the only unrelated eyewitness, a man who sat with his children on a nearby balcony and said concerns about their safety prevented him from watching closely. .
Sean Kelly was called by the defense, but both sides argued that his account favored them. He said he saw muzzle flashes that looked like they were coming from a woman, but he also said he saw a little man “shooting everywhere.”
Lanez, legally named Daystar Peterson, began releasing mixtapes in 2009 and has seen a steady rise in popularity and transitioned to major corporate albums. The last two entered the top 10 on the Billboard charts.
Megan Thee Stallion was already a rising star at the time of filming and her reputation has since grown. She won a Grammy for best new artist in 2021 and peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for her song “Savage” featuring Beyoncé and as a guest on Cardi B’s “WAP”.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton