LOS ANGELES - Testimony is expected to resume Monday in the trial of rapper Tory Lanez, who is charged with assault and a weapons count in connection with the 2020 shooting of fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion during an argument in the Hollywood Hills.
On Friday Jurors heard a recorded interview played in court where a key witness can be heard telling prosecutors she saw Lanez shooting at Megan Thee Stallion in the Hollywood Hills following an argument between the two entertainers over their careers.
Kelsey Harris — who testified Thursday she did not know who shot Megan Thee Stallion shortly before 4:30 a.m. July 12, 2020 — told Deputy District Attorneys Kathy Ta and Alexander Bott during an extensive interview just a few months before the trial that Lanez demanded his driver stop the SUV in which they were riding following the argument between the two rappers, and that Lanez was "shooting over the top of the (vehicle's) door."
"He was leaning over the front passenger door and he was shooting the gun," Harris said during the 80-minute interview Sept. 14.
Lanez — whose real name is Daystar Peterson — is charged with one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, along with allegations that he personally used a firearm and inflicted great bodily injury on Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Pete.
Harris told prosecutors in the audiotaped interview that Megan Thee Stallion was walking away from the vehicle and described the female rapper as facing towards them and being like a deer in the headlights after the gunfire rang out.
"He did not say anything," she said of Lanez.
Megan Thee Stallion testified Tuesday in a packed downtown Los Angeles courtroom that Lanez told her to "dance, bitch," and shot her in the feet following a get-together at Kylie Jenner's home. The entertainer said she had no doubt that Lanez fired the shots.
Harris — the female rapper's former best friend and personal assistant — told jurors Thursday that she hadn't been completely truthful when she met with prosecutors, but adamantly maintained that she was not the one who shot Megan Thee Stallion.
In questioning Thursday, Lanez's lawyer asked Harris if she was "aware that the defense theory was that you were the shooter."
"I don't know when I discovered that, but I was aware," Harris said under cross-examination.
"Your goal was to try to incriminate my client and keep yourself out of this?" the defense attorney asked.
"No," she responded.
"You didn't shoot her, correct?" Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta asked Harris during her second day on the stand Thursday.
"I did not," Harris responded.
"Who shot her?" the prosecutor asked.
"I don't know," she said.
When asked why she sent a text she sent shortly after the shooting in which she wrote that "Tory shot meg," she said, "I just assumed because I heard the shots."
"Kelsey, you have use immunity ... You can say what happened and you will not be prosecuted ... Did you shoot Megan?" the prosecutor asked.
"No," Harris responded.
She told prosecutors during the interview in September that she had nothing to hide or lie about, and said she was upset that Megan Thee Stallion didn't "clear my name."
She acknowledged being given use immunity during Lanez's trial after asking to invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and said she understands that she can be prosecuted if she lies during her testimony.
Under use immunity any testimony given by a witness or any evidence derived from that testimony may not be used against that witness in a criminal proceeding.
Harris said Thursday that there were "many reasons" why she wanted to invoke the Fifth Amendment, and said she has been "harassed by many people." She said she didn't want any involvement in the case and denied receiving any "hush money" from Lanez.
Earlier this week, Megan Thee Stallion testified that Lanez offered her $1 million not to say anything and that he said he couldn't go to jail because he was already on probation — the latter of which defense attorney George Mgdesyan told jurors Monday was simply not the case.
She said she felt pain in both of her feet, but agreed to get back in the vehicle with Lanez and two other people, including Harris, after the shooting because she was wearing a thong bikini and felt like her manager would know what to do if she was able to get to him.
Megan Thee Stallion said the vehicle was stopped soon afterward by police, who ordered all of the occupants out, as her feet were still bleeding. She said she told police that she had stepped on glass when they began questioning her.
"At this time, we were at the height of police brutality with George Floyd," she said, adding that she didn't want to see anybody die and that it was "not really acceptable" in the Black community to cooperate with police.
Under cross-examination, the rapper said she initially had no intention of talking about what had happened and "didn't want to be a snitch" but felt she had to "defend my name" when she saw that people were "making up things" and suggesting that she had never been shot at all.
In other testimony Friday, Los Angeles Police Department criminalist Randy Zepeda told jurors that Lanez couldn't be excluded from being one of the four potential sources of DNA found on a handgun that has been linked to the shooting, but said the rapper was excluded by DNA from four potential sources of DNA on the weapon's magazine.
The defense's first witness, who was called out of order as the prosecution still hasn't wrapped up its case, noted that he did not see any evidence of a DNA sample being collected from Harris.
The prosecution has acknowledged that Lanez and Harris each tested positive for gunshot residue.
Superior Court Judge David Herriford told jurors that testimony may wrap up Tuesday.
Lanez, 30, remains out of custody on a $350,000 bond. The rapper had been under house arrest and under electronic monitoring while awaiting trial, but those restrictions were lifted last week by the judge.
In a posting last year on Twitter, Lanez wrote, "I have all faith in God to show that ... love to all my fans and people that have stayed true to me & know my heart ... a charge is not a conviction."
Megan Thee Stallion gained fame in part through freestyling videos shared widely on Instagram. Her song "Savage" went viral on TikTok and topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 2020, while her provocative collaboration with Cardi B on "WAP" garnered her more attention.
In a video posted on Instagram Live following the shooting, Megan Thee Stallion said, "Tory shot me. You shot me and you got your publicist and your people are lying ... Stop lying."
She said police officers drove her to a hospital, where she underwent surgery, and added she was "incredibly grateful to be alive."
In an op-ed published in The New York Times, she wrote that she was "recently the victim of an act of violence by a man" and that she was initially silent about what had happened "out of fear for myself and my friends."
"Even as a victim, I have been met with skepticism and judgment," she wrote. "The way people have publicly questioned and debated whether I played a role in my own violent assault proves that my fears about discussing what happened were, unfortunately, warranted."