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(LOS ANGELES) — Jury selection in the trial of Tory Lanez is set to begin on Monday as the rapper faces charges for allegedly shooting and injuring hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion on July 12, 2020 in the Hollywood Hills.
Opening statements and testimony are expected to begin on Dec. 12, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office told ABC News.
According to prosecutors, Lanez “personally inflicted great bodily injury” upon Megan Thee Stallion, whose legal name is Megan Pete, after the two got into an argument while riding in an SUV in the Hollywood Hills, resulting in an injury in her foot for which she received medical treatment.
Lanez, a popular rapper whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, was charged in Oct. 2020 with one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm (personal use of a firearm), and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, according to charging documents obtained by ABC News. “Personal use of a firearm” is not a separate charge but a sentencing enhancement linked to the first count that increases Lanez’ possible sentence.
Lanez pleaded not guilty on both counts. If he is convicted as charged, he faces up to 22 years and 8 months in prison, according to prosecutors. ABC News has reached out to his attorney Shawn Holley for additional comment.
Megan Thee Stallion, a Grammy-winning rapper who is known for chart-topping hits like “Savage” and “WAP” with Cardi B, first spoke out about the shooting in a since-deleted July 15, 2020 Instagram post, but she did not name Lanez as her alleged shooter until months later and said that she had initially tried to protect him.
At the time, news of Lanez’s arrest sparked rumors about his involvement in the incident. Although Megan received an outpouring of support, she was also subjected to a barrage of attacks on social media from fans jumping to his defense and casting doubt about her injury.
Megan named Lanez as her alleged shooter in an emotional Instagram Live post on Aug. 21, 2022, saying she initially “tried to spare” him.
“Yes … Tory shot me. You shot me and you got your publicist and your people going to these blogs lying,” she said in the emotional video. “Stop lying. Why lie? I don’t understand.”
‘Protect Black women’: How Megan Thee Stallion’s story became part of a movement
Before he was charged, Lanez denied shooting Megan in a lyric on his album, “Daystar,” released on Sept. 25, 2020.
“I ain’t do it,” he claims on the the album’s opening song, “Money Over Fallouts,” and claims, “Megan people tryna frame me for a shootin’.”
Megan had said in the Instagram Live video that she initially didn’t report getting shot to police or that they had a gun in the car — which became a part of the defense’s line of questioning during pretrial hearings — because amid a string of police-involved shootings of unarmed Black men and women in the U.S., she had a fear and mistrust of police.
Los Angeles Police Detective Ryan Stogner testified during pretrial hearings that Megan was initially hesitant to report the incident to police because as a Black woman, she feared the police and was worried of the force they could use against Lanez, who is a Black man, according to court transcripts obtained by ABC News.
“She was afraid that there had been recent police shootings, and she described her concern for the police possibly shooting the defendant since he had just committed a shooting,” Stogner said, according to the transcripts.
Since sharing her story Megan has faced intense public vitriol and attacks on social media, with fans questioning her account, accusing her of lying and even making jokes about her injury.
“Even as a victim, I have been met with skepticism and judgment,” Megan wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times published on Oct. 13, 2020. “…There’s not much room for passionate advocacy if you are a Black woman.”
This case has sparked intense debates over society’s treatment of women and Megan’s account of the incident — and the intense public vitriol she faced after sharing her story — has spotlighted the Protect Black Women movement, which addresses the two-front battle of sexism and racism that Black women experience in their own communities and in society at large.
Most recently, hip-hop star Drake prompted backlash when he appeared to target Megan and cast doubt on her account of the shooting in a controversial lyric on his latest album, “Her Loss.”
“This b—- lie about getting shots, but she still a stallion / She don’t even get the joke but she still smiling,” Drake raps in the song, “Circo Loco,” featuring 21 Savage, which appears on his newest album, “Her Loss.”
While some fans have suggested on social media that the lyric could be referencing plastic surgery, others have accused Drake of questioning Megan’s allegation that she was shot in the feet by Lanez.
“Despite the irrefutable evidence that Megan was a victim of gun violence, the ignorant continue to support her attacker,” Megan’s attorney, Alex Spiro, told ABC News in a statement amid backlash over Drake’s lyric.
Drake has not addressed the backlash in connection to his lyric publicly and his representatives declined to comment for this story.
Megan, who has used her platform to spotlight the stories of Black women, has become one of the most visible voices in the movement.
“… it’s ridiculous that some people think the simple phrase ‘Protect Black Women’ is controversial. We deserve to be protected as human beings,” she wrote in her October 2020 op-ed.
“We are entitled to our anger about a laundry list of mistreatment and neglect that we suffer,” she also wrote.
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