Tory Lanez Regrets Not Testifying at Megan Thee Stallion Shooting Trial: Source
As Tory Lanez awaits sentencing for assaulting Megan Thee Stallion with a semiautomatic firearm, a source tells Rolling Stone the “Luv” singer feels he was misled by his trial lawyer into not testifying in his own defense.
The well-placed source says Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, wanted to take the witness stand to plead his case directly to jurors but was dissuaded by lawyer George Mgdesyan in a decision Peterson now considers misguided.
Peterson, 30, was convicted of all three charges in his case on Dec. 23 and is facing up to 22 years in prison at his sentencing now set for next month. Megan gave dramatic testimony at the two-week trial, recalling how she turned to see Peterson brandishing the gun and her “terrified” reaction to the attack.
Mgdesyan did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday on the source’s claim about Peterson’s eagerness to testify. During the trial, Peterson confirmed to Judge David Herriford that he ultimately decided not to testify. The move came after prosecutors told the court they hoped to bring in a stockpile of impeachment evidence if Peterson took the stand, including Peterson’s alleged assault of fellow musician August Alsina in September and a music video in which Lanez plays a butcher carving up a horse leg in an alleged reference to Megan.
Reached by Rolling Stone Wednesday, Peterson’s new defense lawyer, David Kenner, said he couldn’t comment on the alleged “mistakes” that will be the basis for the defense motion for a new trial. He did confirm that Casey Anthony’s lawyer, Jose Baez, has joined him and co-counsel Matthew Barhoma on Peterson’s defense team.
“I welcome the addition of Jose Baez to the defense team,” Kenner tells Rolling Stone. “It is our collective view that, based upon a motion for a new trial, and if necessary an appeal, we will ultimately be successful in freeing Tory Lanez.”
Kenner, who successfully defended Snoop Dogg at the rapper’s 1996 murder trial, said Peterson’s motion for a new trial “will rely heavily on what we believe to be mistakes made in the previous trial.”
“There is another side of the story at trial which has yet to be told and we look forward to doing so,” Kenner said.
The lawyer, 81, also is known for his longtime affiliation with Suge Knight, though he was not the lawyer representing Knight when the co-founder of Death Row Records pleaded no contest to manslaughter and was sentenced to 28 years in prison for the 2015 hit-and-run that killed Terry Carter.
In a recent call from the Richard J. Donovan prison in San Diego County, Knight wanted to set the record straight that Kenner was not involved in his plea deal in the Carter case.
“If they’d have let me use David Kenner, I wouldn’t be having this conversation from prison with you,” Knight said.
Knight said Kenner had to step down from the hit-and-run case early on for personal reasons and was unable to return due to the stringent rules surrounding Knight’s pre-trial detention.
Knight tells Rolling Stone he followed Peterson’s trial and actually identified with Megan at times.
“I understand what Megan goes through because when Tupac and I got shot in Vegas… I got a fragment and a bullet an inch to my skull today. They didn’t remove it because they said if it went another inch I’d have been a vegetable or dead… So I know what it’s like when people say, ‘You didn’t get shot, this didn’t happen, she’s lying.’ They accused me of stuff (too),” Knight says.
But he identifies with Peterson in terms of feeling he received misguided legal advice and wanting a new trial. “If he’s guilty, that’s one thing. But if he didn’t have the right person representing him to get a fair shake, that another thing,” Knight says.
“Right now, Tory is probably going through [the] worst days of life, because the county jail [is] so horrible and dirty,” he says. “The food is garbage, the cell is freezing, it’s dirty and nasty. You could be sitting in your bed at night, and a rat might run across your chest, or it might bite you, roaches is all over your bed.”