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Tory Lanez awaits sentencing for shooting Megan Thee Stallion

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Tomorrow, rapper and producer Tory Lanez is expected to be sentenced in a Los Angeles courtroom. Last year, he was convicted of three felony counts related to shooting fellow artist Megan Thee Stallion. He shot her in the foot in July 2020 as they left a party. Joining us now with the latest is NPR culture correspondent Anastasia Tsioulcas. Hey, Anastasia.

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa.

CHANG: OK. There has been so much back-and-forth between Tory Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion since this whole shooting took place over three years ago. Can you just remind us how we got here?

TSIOULCAS: Sure thing. So Megan Thee Stallion, whose given name is Megan Pete, left a party with Tory Lanez, whose given name is Daystar Peterson. And Peterson's bodyguard was in the car along with a woman named Kelsey Harris. So Pete and Peterson got into an argument, and he began shooting at her. And at first, Ailsa, Megan told police she'd cut her foot. And she later testified in court she was so afraid of both Peterson and the police that she felt she couldn't tell the truth. And during the trial, Megan also testified that Tory Lanez had apologized and that he offered both her and Harris a million dollars each to keep quiet about the shooting.

CHANG: And the trial itself has taken a long time, right? Like, Tory Lanez switched out his defense team. He also lined up support from some fellow artists, like Drake. Can you just tell us - what's been going on?

TSIOULCAS: Yes. And he's also tried to gather support in the court of public opinion. A couple of months after the shooting, Tory Lanez released an album in which he denied that he had shot her, and he asserted that he had been framed. And prosecutors later said he had launched, quote, "a campaign to humiliate and retraumatize the victim" and that he weaponized misinformation on social media to turn public opinion against Megan. And there's been a lot of public conversation around that - how he tried to turn fans against Megan - and especially what that means for her as a Black woman who was a victim of violence.

CHANG: Yeah. Well, how much time are prosecutors seeking for the sentence?

TSIOULCAS: So this is actually pretty interesting. Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Tory Lanez to 13 years in prison out of a possible maximum of more than 22 years. And they said, in part, that was because he had worked so hard to demean Megan after he shot her.

But there's a very interesting thing going on right now in California. There was a recently passed law that was meant to be a measure of criminal justice reform. And under that new law, courts are required to impose a middle length of a possible prison term unless there are aggravating circumstances.

CHANG: Oh, interesting.

TSIOULCAS: So that's how we arrived at 13 years as a possible sentence.

CHANG: Out of a maximum of 22. OK. Well, this isn't even going to be the end of it for Tory Lanez, right? What are other legal issues that he's facing?

TSIOULCAS: So the - another interesting thing about this is that, even though Tory Lanez has absolutely made his career in the United States, he's actually a Canadian citizen, which means that, after he serves whatever the jail term might be, if that is imposed, he could be facing possible deportation back to Canada.

CHANG: That is NPR culture correspondent Anastasia Tsioulcas. Thank you so much, Anastasia.

TSIOULCAS: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
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