Megan Thee Stallion’s former best friend Kelsey Harris took the witness stand at Tory Lanez’s felony assault trial Wednesday as prosecutors revealed she gave a bombshell recorded interview in September claiming Lanez threatened to shoot her inside a Cadillac Escalade before he allegedly opened fire on Megan.
Prosecutors played snippets of the interview during Harris’ combative testimony as she confirmed she gave the detailed statement three months ago but claimed the damaging account was “not accurate” and that she was “not truthful” that day to “protect” herself.
Sitting steps away from a jury in a Los Angeles courtroom, Harris testified that she could no longer recall the alleged threat from Lanez inside the SUV and no longer remembered seeing him holding a gun or firing at Megan during an alcohol-fueled fight on July 12, 2020.
She flat-out denied seeing Lanez fire the gun, a startling reversal from what prosecutors told jurors she said in her prior interview. “I didn’t see him do that,” she testified.
But in one portion of the recording played for jurors, Harris was heard telling prosecutors that after Lanez allegedly said, “I’ll shoot you” inside the SUV, he then “reached like he was going to grab something” from the center console.
Harris, 27, agreed on the witness stand she made the statement in September, but when Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta asked her to describe the alleged threat again for the jury, she clammed up and claimed “some of those things I stated, they were not accurate.”
“The night was a blur. We were under the influence,” she said.
She said a mix of anxiety, postpartum issues and grief related to the death of someone close to her made it difficult for her to remember details and even focus on the questions of her direct examination Wednesday.
“What’s going on with you today?” Ta asked after Harris claimed she couldn’t remember Megan being injured and bleeding profusely in the backseat of the Escalade. “What happened between September and today? … In September when you spoke with us, you gave us a lot of detailed statements about what happened, right?”
Harris replied, “Yes, ma’am.”
“What happened between September and today that you forgot everything?” Ta asked.
“I told you what I’m going through,” Harris said.
But Harris did own up to sending the three lines of text messages to Megan’s bodyguard that read, “Help / Tory shot meg / 911,” within five minutes of the shooting. She said it was based on “assumptions.”
Despite repeatedly asking Ta to repeat questions and saying she was “zoning out” on the witness stand, Harris was adamant she never touched the gun, so it was preposterous for the defense to claim she’s the one who opened fire on Megan, wounding the “Savage” rapper in both feet during the roadside dispute two years ago.
“I mean, it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous,” Harris testified in the courtroom in downtown Los Angeles — a day after Megan told jurors she saw Lanez point the gun at her and fire.
At one point, Ta asked Harris if she recalled stating in September that when she met with Peterson outside a hotel after the shooting, she told him he was “wrong,” and he allegedly said, “Kelsey, what can I do?” before offering to invest in one of her business ventures.
“I don’t remember telling you that,” Harris replied.
“Is that what happened?” Ta asked.
“It’s hard to remember these events,” Harris said.
“It wasn’t hard to remember them in September, correct?” Ta asked.
“I guess not. I don’t know,” Harris said.
Harris was expected to be a key witness in the high-profile case because she’s the only other close-proximity eyewitness to the events leading up to the shooting who’s confirmed to testify at the trial beyond Megan herself. During opening statements, prosecutors said she would corroborate the claim that Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, was the triggerman.
Still, Harris was considered a wildcard due to her public estranged from Megan in the aftermath of the shooting and the fact that she never spoke to investigators until she was subpoenaed for trial.
When she first walked into the courtroom Wednesday, she was accompanied by criminal lawyer Daniel A. Nardoni and her husband, Darien Smith. The lawyer said Harris planned to assert her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Judge David Herriford said he conducted an in-chambers proceeding on the matter and determined Harris’ concerns were “legitimate.” Prosecutors then said they would offer her “use immunity” for her testimony, and she was sworn in as a witness.
The use immunity deal meant whatever she said on the witness stand couldn’t be used against her in a future proceeding, but if she admitted to criminal conduct, she could still be prosecuted with other evidence beyond her testimony. Her lawyer had asked for blanket immunity, but it wasn’t granted. Harris also heard repeatedly that her immunity deal would not protect her if she perjured herself.
“I don’t care to be here today,” Harris told Ta minutes into her examination. She called the trial a “triggering situation,” saying she’s suffering from “anxiety” and dealing with the birth of a child and a recent death. “I just don’t want to be here.”
She then took aim at Megan.
“She’s painted the picture that I betrayed her, she’s painted the picture that I’m this bad person, bad friend, that I took hush money. There are many lies,” she testified.
Ta then asked Harris about other alleged lies. “Were there accusations about you having shot Megan?” she asked.
“There were,” Harris replied.
“How do you feel about them?” Ta inquired.
“I mean, it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous,” Harris said.
Peterson, 30, sat at the defense table during her testimony. The “Luv” singer has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges alleging he shot Megan with a semiautomatic 9mm handgun, causing great bodily injury; concealed a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharged a firearm with gross negligence.
If convicted as charged, the Alone at Prom rapper is facing the possibility of 22 years and eight months in prison and subsequent deportation since he’s a citizen of Canada.
Dressed in a black ensemble with her hair in a bun, Harris told jurors she and Megan met Peterson at a Roc Nation brunch in 2020. She said Megan tried to set her up with him at first, and she “engaged” in relationship with him that was “more than a friendship.” But then she caught Covid and was home in Houston for two or three months. She believes the “dynamic” between Megan and Peterson changed while she was away.
She then described the gathering at Kylie Jenner’s house that preceded the shooting. She said everyone was playing beer pong and “having fun,” but she described Megan’s demeanor as being “drunk” and “a little off.”
She said at some point after she passed out inside, Peterson arrived at the mansion. Asked how Peterson was acting, she said, “Tory’s doing his thing — being Tory, flirting.”
“Who was he flirting with?” Ta asked.
“He was flirting with Kylie,” she replied.
Harris testified once Megan said she was ready to leave, the two women departed with Peterson’s driver, leaving Peterson behind. (When Megan testified Tuesday, she disputed this detail, saying Peterson’s driver refused to leave the property without his client.)
Harris said soon after she and Megan left Jenner’s house the first time, Megan told the driver she forgot a “slipper,” so they returned.
She said Megan went inside alone, and “apparently a fight or something happened.”
“She rushed out with Tory,” she testified. “She was like, ‘Bitch, Kylie said we got to get the fuck out.’ I was like, ‘I’m confused.’”
She said the trio then climbed into Peterson’s Cadillac Escalade with the driver, Jauquan Smith, where everyone started arguing.
“The argument that took place inside carried on,” she said, declining to get specific. “There was so much going back and forth, name calling (between) me and Megan, Tory and Megan, Tory and Me, Megan and Tory.”
Ta asked if Harris remembered Tory saying something to the effect of, “Megan, why aren’t you telling your friend about us?”
“Yes, ma’am,” she replied. “(Megan) was just like, ‘Don’t listen to him. Why are you telling her that?’”
Asked what her reaction was, Harris said she was “upset, confused.” She testified she and Peterson had been intimate before she caught Covid and went to Houston.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” she said. “He’s just saying that they had a relationship , they were having a relationship. An argument ensues and just continues. Me and her are arguing about her disloyalty.”
She said “a lot of name-calling” broke out, with everyone “taking jabs at each other.” She recalled telling prosecutors that Peterson called the women “bitches” and “hoes.”
Then Ta started asking Harris about her recorded interview with prosecutors in September.
“Do you remember in this interview with (another prosecutor) and myself, that you mentioned he threatened to shoot you?” Ta asked.
“Do I have to answer that?” Harris said, looking at the judge.
“Yes,” Judge David Herriford said.
“Um, yes, ma’am,” Harris replied, confirming she made the claim Peterson threatened to shoot her.
“And this was in the car, correct?” Ta asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“What did he do, and what did he say?” Ta asked.
“Can I take my 5th?” Harris replied, leaving the stand to speak with her lawyer. When she returned, Harris again invoked her right against self-incrimination.
“Why don’t you want to answer that question?” Ta asked.
“I don’t want to be here,” Harris responded.
Harris is due back on the witness stand Thursday.
Updated at 8:16 p.m. to reflect Kelsey Harris’s afternoon testimony