The Canadian rapper and singer Tory Lanez is expected to be sentenced on Monday for shooting Megan Thee Stallion, a fellow artist and onetime friend, in both of her feet during an argument in the summer of 2020. Details of the assault came out gradually via social media and evolving law enforcement accounts, leading to a yearslong legal saga that became tawdry tabloid fodder while also generating broader conversation about the treatment of Black women in music and beyond.
Prosecutors are seeking a 13-year sentence for Mr. Lanez, born Daystar Peterson, arguing that he lacked remorse and was “clearly incapable of accepting any responsibility for his own actions,” citing “a campaign to humiliate and retraumatize the victim” following the shooting.
“The defendant actively invited harassment of the victim by spreading misinformation to his large following in an effort to galvanize the public against the victim and even the prosecution team without any regard to the dangers it posed,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “The defendant has weaponized misinformation to his large following to such a degree that it has left a lasting traumatic impact on the victim.”
Mr. Lanez was found guilty in December of three felony counts: assault with a semiautomatic handgun, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. He faces a maximum of 22 years and eight months in prison, as well as potential deportation to Canada.
Lawyers for Mr. Lanez, 31, had filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that Instagram posts and a tattoo shown in court were prejudicial evidence, but the judge denied their request in May. Prosecutors had said the defense’s motion was “replete with colorful rhetoric” but lacked substance and failed to “cite a single instance of error in the trial court.”
Following that hearing, Mr. Lanez told the judge: “Please don’t ruin my life. I could be your son, I could be your brother.”
Ahead of the trial, the two artists had traded barbs in songs and online for more than a year.
Megan Thee Stallion, born Megan Pete, testified that Mr. Lanez, with whom she had a brief romantic entanglement, fired at her several times after she exited a vehicle that was taking them home from a pool party at the reality star Kylie Jenner’s residence. According to testimony, a drunken fight about relationships and careers had erupted between the two artists and another friend in the S.U.V., Kelsey Harris.
Megan Thee Stallion initially told responding officers that she had stepped on glass, explaining later that she had been on high alert after the police killing of George Floyd and was also worried about how “snitching” on Mr. Lanez would affect her career in hip-hop. Following initial coverage of the case, in which Mr. Lanez was charged only with weapons possession, Megan Thee Stallion named the rapper as her assailant on Instagram.
She testified that Mr. Lanez had apologized, and offered her and Ms. Harris a million dollars each to keep quiet about the shooting.
On the stand, Ms. Harris declined to identify Mr. Lanez as the gunman, even as the defense put forth a theory that she may have shot her friend out of jealousy. But in earlier text messages and an interview with detectives that were also presented to the jury, Ms. Harris corroborated Megan Thee Stallion’s story.
Mr. Lanez’s sentencing had originally been scheduled for January but was rescheduled several times as he hired new lawyers and sought a new trial.
The rapper’s defense team argued that the jury might have been improperly swayed by a shirtless photo of Mr. Lanez that revealed a firearm tattoo, saying it could paint him as “a gun-wielding career criminal.” It also said the potential that prosecutors would use Mr. Lanez’s lyrics against him had “impermissibly chilled” his right to testify.