Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, was originally scheduled to be sentenced in February of this year but his legal team filed a motion for a new trial in March that was ultimately denied. In the months that followed, Peterson’s sentencing date has been pushed back several times.
Prosecutors were seeking a 13-year sentence and cited three violations of pre-trial court orders, telling the judge Peterson had “waged a campaign to humiliate and re-traumatize [Megan].” His attorneys asked for him to be sentenced to probation or three years in prison and were seeking probation and mandatory rehab, citing Peterson’s alcohol addiction and childhood trauma.
Peterson’s legal team submitted letters of recommendation from family members, members and leaders of non-profit organizations, and even a few of his peers from the music industry — including Iggy Azalea.
Peterson has been in jail without bond since a jury found him guilty on Dec. 23 of three felony firearm counts over an incident that happened on July 12, 2020, in which fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion (real name Megan Pete), alleged he shot her in the feet after they left a Hollywood Hills party at Kylie Jenner’s home. After the verdict, Lanez stopped working with his trial lawyer, George Mgdeysan, and most recently appointed Jose Baez to aid the case.
“He not only shot me, he made a mockery of my trauma,” Pete reportedly wrote in a statement that was read in court on Aug. 7. “This is a statement for all survivors that their lives matter and there is zero tolerance for the torture that accompanies violence.”
The Canadian rapper was convicted on one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, negligent discharge of a firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for two days after hearing arguments from both the prosecution and the defense in a high-profile trial that spanned two weeks, coming right up against the Christmas holiday weekend in 2022.
The trial had several unexpected twists in testimony and varied interpretations of the hard evidence in the case. Pete suffered wounds to her feet that she described to police at the scene as the result of broken glass, but later claimed were caused by gunshots from Peterson. A surgeon who operated on Pete after the altercation took the stand to confirm he had removed bullet fragments from her feet.
Peterson repeatedly denied that he was the one who shot at Pete and pleaded not guilty in November 2020. The trial began on Dec. 12, 2022, with testimony from Pete herself, who claimed Peterson had shot her in an emotional retelling of the roadside assault. She told the jury: “I wish [Peterson] had just shot and killed me.” The defense went on to argue that this was a case about jealousy between Pete and Kelsey Harris, her former friend and ex-assistant, who both allegedly had intimate relationships with Peterson.
Harris was described as a key witness for the prosecution, but on the stand, she claimed she either didn’t see or couldn’t remember the circumstances of the shooting due to consumption of alcohol that night and because she was dealing with anxiety and postpartum depression. Peterson’s attorney, George Mgdesyan, contended that the events of those nights had occurred because Pete and Harris had a heated and drunken dispute about disloyalty and since they were both allegedly sleeping with Peterson. Mdesyan also heavily relied on DNA evidence to contend that his client’s fingerprints were not found on the gun used to shoot Pete.
The case attracted intense scrutiny and public debate, and considering neither side could agree on the facts, it was a polarizing debate that led to Pete largely disappearing from the limelight.
In an essay penned by Pete for Elle, the Texas-born rapper reflected on the debacle, writing, “When the guilty verdict came on Dec. 23, 2022, it was more than just vindication for me, it was a victory for every woman who has ever been shamed, dismissed, and blamed for a violent crime committed against them.”