Judge denies additional witness tampering charges in Tory Lanez trial

Judge David Herriford said the prosecution waited too long to file a motion to add witness tampering in the trial against Lanez, charged with shooting Megan Thee Stallion.

On Monday, prosecutors in the Tory Lanez criminal trial attempted to add a new charge of witness tampering, but the judge denied the request. Lanez is on trial for allegedly shooting rapper Megan Thee Stallion in the foot in 2020.

Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta wanted to tack on a new offense, accusing Lanez — whose real name is Daystar Peterson — of attempting to dissuade a witness, citing California Penal Code 136.1, according to Rolling Stone.

After entering the motion, Ta was shut down by Judge David Herriford, who said she waited too long to enter the motion.

Rapper Tory Lanez, 30, walks out of the courthouse while holding his 5-year-old son, Kai’Lon. The Canadian artist is on trial for allegedly shooting fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion in the foot in 2020. (Photo: Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Last week, testimony from the injured Megan Thee Stallion — whose real name is Megan Pete — and her former assistant, Kelsey Harris, alleged that Peterson attempted to bribe them for their silence. The three were all in the same vehicle on July 12, 2020, when the shooting incident allegedly occurred upon Pete’s exit after she and Peterson argued.

Ta stated that the motion was “based on testimony by both the victim and Ms. (Kelsey) Harris” about “statements the defendant made in the car, offering them a million dollars” to keep their silence about Pete’s wounding. When Herriford asked why it took Ta so long to file the motion, Ta responded that since Harris appeared to co-sign what Pete said in her testimony, prosecutors elected to add the alleged “$1 million bribe.”

Pete previously stated in her testimony that Peterson attempted to buy her and Harris’ silence. When Harris was cross-examined last week by Peterson’s lawyer, George Mgdesyan, she stated that Peterson never bribed or threatened her. However, when Mgdesyan asked her, “Did my client offer you one million?” she answered, “I can’t remember.”

Mgdesyan objected to the motion to add the witness tampering charge, stating that Ta knew about the likelihood of Harris taking the stand since September. Herriford contended that filing the motion put the defense team in a “difficult position” with its planning and response time, ultimately stating, “I think it’s unfair at this juncture, so I would deny that motion.”

On Monday, Pete’s attorney, Alex Spiro, issued a statement that one of the witnesses, Justin Edison, had disappeared just before his scheduled appearance in court. Edison, Pete’s former bodyguard, was supposed to testify in the trial but was missing in action. The Los Angeles Police Department is “looking into” Edison’s disappearance but has yet to officially open a missing person’s case.

Peterson is charged with discharging a firearm with gross negligence, assault with a semiautomatic handgun and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 22 years imprisonment.

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