According to Rolling Stone, the rapper’s legal team officially launched their appeal proceedings on Wednesday (March 28), claiming a number of reasons they say “deprived” him of a “fair trial.”
The central argument of the motion is a September 2020 Instagram comment from Tory Lanez, who claimed that Kelsey Harris, Megan’s former best friend and assistant, was not the shooter.
The lawsuit also included a statement from Joshua Farias, Lanez’s social media manager, who claims to have been the one to respond “that’s not true” to a comment on The Shade Room’s account that read: “People saying Kelsey shot her.”
Tory’s lawyers contend that the prosecution ambushed them with the Instagram comment during the trial in December 2022. They also contend that the court should have prevented the jury from seeing it while the defense did not have enough time to find out who made the remark.
Tory’s lawyers argue that the comments amounted to an apparent admission by Tory that she did not fire the gun considering that her defense depended on the theory that Kelsey was the one who shot Megan, an allegation that both Megan and Kelsey have denied.
“The court erred on numerous questions of law in allowing the People to introduce this post, depriving defendant of a fair trial,” the motion reads. “The only acceptable remedy for this miscarriage of justice is a new trial.”
In addition, the lawsuit claims that the prosecutors unfairly portrayed Tory Lanez as “a gun-wielding career criminal” by introducing a shirtless image of the rapper and requesting a witness if he had seen “the big gun that Tory has tattooed at the center of his chest.”
According to Lanez’s lawyers, the reference of his AK-47 tattoo, which they claim is “an tribute to Tupac Shakur” and “a symbol of Black unity and the battle against racism,” is a violation of AB 2799, a new California law passed during his trial that aims to ban “creative expression” from being used in court proceedings.
The defense team for Lanez believes that the judge’s decision to permit the introduction of his rap lyrics and a music video by the prosecution during his cross-examination, which also violates AB 2799, “impermissibly chilled” Lanez’s right to testify.
The video in question, 2022’s “Cap,” shows the Sorry 4 What rapper sharpening a bloody cleaver before using it to chop up what looks like a horse leg — an apparent taunt aimed at Megan Thee Stallion.
Prior to an April 10 hearing, the prosecution is expected to file a response to the motion. Lanez, who may spend up to 22 years in prison, was scheduled to be sentenced on that day, but it has been reported that both parties have agreed to postpone it.
The new request is filed while Tory Lanez’s legal representation undergoes yet another change. On Wednesday, it was revealed that David Kenner, the well-known defense lawyer famous for helping Snoop Dogg win his 1993 murder case, had left his team due to a “scheduling conflict.”
Tory recruited David Kenner in January after parting ways with George Mgdesyan, who served as his attorney during the trial. The rapper will continue to be represented by Jose Baez and Matthew Barhoma.
“I would like to thank Mr. Kenner for his hard work and wise counsel,” Tory said in a statement shared on Baez’s Instagram Stories.