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Tory Lanez Won’t Testify In Megan Thee Stallion Shooting Trial

The rapper's lawyers elected not to put him on the witness stand, clearing the way for closing arguments to commence on Wednesday.

Tory Lanez said Wednesday (Dec. 21) that he will not take the witness stand in his own defense in the trial over whether he shot Megan Thee Stallion in the foot, signaling the end of testimony and the start of closing arguments in the week-long trial and setting the stage for jurors to begin deliberating on a verdict.

Putting a defendant on the stand to be cross-examined by prosecutors is a big gamble in any criminal case, and Lanez’s attorneys opted not to do so — resting their case without giving Lanez a chance to personally persuade jurors that he didn’t pull the trigger the night Megan was shot.

“I will not testify,” said Lanez, sitting beside his father, to Judge David V. Herriford.


During Wednesday morning’s proceedings, it was also revealed that Jaquan Smith, Lanez’s driver who was present the night of Megan’s shooting, would similarly not be testifying. Smith, who could have provided eye-witness testimony to the incident, had been present at the courthouse earlier in the day.

Once it became clear that neither Lanez or Smith would be testifying, closing arguments in the trial commenced, with both the prosecution and defense leaning on contradictory testimony and statements made by witnesses including Harris, Kelly and Megan herself in an effort to prove their case.

Lanez stands accused of three felony counts over the July 12, 2020 incident, during which prosecutors say he yelled “Dance, b—-” and shot at Megan’s feet, striking her at least once. If convicted on all three counts, he faces up to 22 years in prison. His lawyers have steadfastly maintained his innocence, suggesting throughout the trial that the trigger might instead have been pulled by Kelsey Harris, Megan’s former friend and assistant who was also in the vehicle that night.

Kicking off Dec. 12, the trial has seen gripping testimony from Megan herself, who recounted the alleged shooting, pinned the blame on Lanez and said, “I wish he had just shot and killed me.” Harris — expected to be a star witness for the prosecution — also took the stand, but she largely failed to re-affirm previous statements pinning the blame on Lanez. Then on Friday (Dec. 16), prosecutors played recordings of Harris’ earlier statements, in which she clearly stated that Lanez had shot the Grammy-winning rapper and then tried to buy both women’s silence with million-dollar bribes.

Back in court this week, jurors heard confusing and contradictory testimony from Sean Kelly, a man who allegedly saw the entire incident from his nearby home. Expected to be a key witness for Lanez’s defense team, Kelly told jurors that he saw Harris violently grappling with Megan outside the vehicle, but that he also saw a man matching Tory Lanez’s description holding a gun. Bizarrely, he then later said he never actually saw a gun at all.

Smith, the driver of the vehicle, could have provided additional perspective as the only other person present during the incident — and the only one who has never been suggested to have been involved in the shooting. But like Lanez, he was never placed on the witness stand on Wednesday.

Speaking to Billboard during the recess, Lanez attorney George Mgdesyan said he’d wanted Smith to testify, but that procedural wrangling and the possibility of a delay that could have forced jurors to return after Christmas prevented him from taking the stand.

With no testimony from Lanez or Smith, closing arguments kicked off Wednesday afternoon with Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott, who appealed to jurors by underlining the emotional heft of Megan’s tearful testimony on Dec. 13. Methodically laying out Megan’s version of events that night, Bott played up the rapper’s own words in an effort to establish the improbability of the Grammy winner coming forward had Lanez not actually shot her in the foot.

“It was hard for Megan to testify at trial,” said the prosecutor. “This is what she said: ‘I’m having a really difficult time sitting up here and comfortably tell my story — because not only do I have to sit next to a group of people who have been continuously spreading misinformation, making me look like a bad person, I have to sit across from Tory and it’s really hard and I like to present like I’m strong, but I’m really trying. I don’t like to look weak.'”

Bott continued by reminding jurors that Megan and Lanez were “close” and “hooking up” at the time of the shooting, before imploring: “So why would Megan say to you and the police that the defendant shot her if it wasn’t true? Ask yourself if that makes sense.” He also cited Megan’s claims of blowback for coming forward, including abuse and threats on social media and disbelief from powerful men in the music industry. “Look what coming forward has done to her life,” he said. “Look what it’s done to her life, her career, her reputation.”

Another cornerstone of Bott’s closing statement was playing up the difference between the interview Harris gave to prosecutors in Sept. 2020 and her testimony in court, strongly suggesting that she’d either been intimidated or bought off. He noted that while Harris could remember mundane details from the night of the shooting during her testimony, her memory of anything pertaining to Lanez’s actions in the car — including her previous assertion that he’d threatened to shoot her — became suddenly fuzzy.

Bott also attempted to poke holes in the defense’s suggestion that Harris had been the one to pull the trigger — a claim based on contradictory testimony from alleged eyewitness Sean Kelly — reminding jurors of her and Megan’s close relationship and her previous statements claiming she’d attempted to help Megan, including by sending a text message to Megan’s security guard alerting him to the shooting. Bott also played body cam footage of one of the officers present at the scene on the night of the shooting, in which Harris can be seen demonstrating concern for Megan’s well-being by asking the rapper, “Are you okay?”

Elsewhere, Bott told jurors that the lack of conclusive evidence of Lanez’s DNA on the gun — as previously testified to by a criminalist at the LAPD crime lab — does not necessarily mean that Lanez didn’t shoot the gun, imploring: “Just because there is no DNA evidence we throw this away? We can’t find a person guilty?”

Bott ended by reiterating an emotional line from Megan’s time on the stand, in which the rapper testified to the despair she’s felt in the shooting’s aftermath: “I feel like I can’t hold a conversation with people for a long time. I don’t want to talk to my mom. I don’t even want to be on this earth no more. I wish he would have just shot and killed me if I would have known I was going to go through this torture.”

Following a recess, defense attorney George Mgdesyan kicked off his own closing argument by again attempting to portray Harris as the likely shooter. To establish this, he leaned heavily on Kelly’s highly contradictory testimony, focusing on Kelly’s claim that he saw the two women scuffling outside the car on the night of the shooting. He also played up Kelly’s assertion that he had witnessed a “struggle” for the gun, suggesting that what Kelly witnessed was Lanez attempting to wrestle the gun away from Harris.

Mgdesyan’s strategy also revolved around portraying Megan as a liar — including by citing her initial statements to police that she hadn’t been shot (which she later claimed came from a fear of police violence, citing the then-current protests around the police killing of George Floyd) and her later claim, in an April 2022 interview with Gayle King, that she and Lanez hadn’t been in a sexual relationship before later testifying that they were. He additionally tried to undercut Megan’s claims of emotional torment in the years since the shooting by rattling off the rapper’s career highlights in the intervening period, including multiple Grammy wins and several hit singles.

Mgdesyan’s closing argument, which will pick up again on Thursday, ultimately hinges on both painting both Harris and Megan as unreliable witnesses — by, among other things, citing their allegedly heavy drinking on the night of the shooting — while portraying Lanez as essentially a bystander caught up in a fight between two women jealous over his sexual relationships with them.

The trial resumes Thursday.