Tory Lanez‘s legal team is trying everything in their power to keep the rapper out of jail as his sentencing date approaches.
Lanez’s lawyers, Matthew Barhoma and Jose Baez, filed a motion to disqualify Judge David Herriford, accusing the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge of showing favoritism to the prosecution, according to Law&Crime reporter Meghann Cuniff.
Tory was found guilty on three felony counts connected to the 2020 shooting of Megan Thee Stallion after a two-week trial that was presided over by Herriford. In May, Herriford also denied the rapper’s request for a new trial.
Barhoma and Baez stated three examples of Herriford’s “partiality” during the two-day hearing last month in their appellate petition, which was submitted shortly after their new trial motion was denied.
They claimed the judge prevented them from calling witnesses for live testimony, commanded them to present their arguments in the order he wanted instead of the order they wanted, and cut them off while they were arguing.
“Conversely, the judge gave the People a full and fair opportunity to present argument uninterrupted, even when the case cited by the People did not stand for the proposition that they advanced,” the defense attorneys wrote.
“Together, these facts reveal such a high degree of favoritism or antagonism as to make fair judgment impossible,” they added. “Given these facts, a reasonable person would fairly entertain doubts concerning the judge’s impartiality. As a result, disqualification is required.”
Anticipating Barhoma and Baez would turn to the appellate court in an attempt to disqualify him, Herriford responded with a “verified answer” in a written order during the second day of the hearing on Lanez’s request for a new trial.
“I am not prejudiced or biased against or in favor of any party to this proceeding or their counsel,” he wrote. “All rulings made by me in this action have been based upon facts and arguments officially presented to me and upon my understanding of the law. … All statements made by me and all actions taken by me in this proceeding have been done in furtherance of what I believe were my judicial duties.”
The filing itself has not affected Lanez’s scheduled sentencing, which is due to take place on June 13. The petition has sat untouched for nearly three weeks and it’s unclear if the court will consider it before Lanez’s sentencing, according to Cuniff.
The news comes shortly after prosecutors filed a motion last month demanding for Tory Lanez to receive a harsh prison sentence.
Deputy District Attorneys Kathy Ta and Alex Bott filed a motion on Tuesday (May 23) calling for Lanez to receive a hefty prison sentence for his alleged crime.
In the document, they claim the Canadian rapper “demonstrated a high level of callousness” when he allegedly fired five shots at Megan Thee Stallion’s feet “without any justifiable provocation or reason,” and should therefore be punished accordingly.
On Tuesday (June 6) Ta and Bott are expected to provide their exact sentencing recommendation in a more expansive memorandum. If Judge Herriford sides with the prosecution, he will legally be able to sentence Tory to more than the middle range of the maximum, which is 22 years and 8 months in prison.