LOS ANGELES — A judge on Tuesday increased Tory Lanez's bail to $350,000 after the rapper, who is charged with shooting Megan Thee Stallion in the foot, jumped into a tweetstorm last month that included inaccurate information about the case.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Herriford also ordered Lanez, 29, not to mention Megan "directly or indirectly," saying that the tweets Lanez sent while Twitter personality DJ Akademiks made allegations about the DNA evidence in the case seemed to "be clear messages" to Megan.
Prosecutors had asked the court to revoke Lanez's bail entirely, sending him to jail as he awaits trial, or to increase it to $5 million, but the judge said those options were excessive. Lanez, who appeared to smirk as he was placed in handcuffs in the courtroom on Tuesday, was immediately taken into custody to be processed on the new bail. He was released about five hours later and drove off in a Lamborghini, according to online booking records and a Rolling Stone reporter at the scene.
Lanez, 29, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, is charged with one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and carrying a concealed, loaded, and unregistered firearm in a vehicle. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months in prison.
Though the trial has yet to begin, the case has generated speculation and attacks on Megan's credibility on social media, which prompted her to write a guest essay for the New York Times on society's failure to protect Black women.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday, Megan's attorney Alex Spiro pointed out that the judge had found enough evidence against Lanez to proceed to trial.
"The self-serving noise in this case will not change the facts or prevent this case from proceeding," he said.
Initially, Megan told officers she cut her feet on broken glass, later revealing she was too scared to tell the truth in the moment that she had been shot. A couple of months later, Lanez released an album in which he accused Megan of "trying to frame" him as he denied the allegations and addressed the incident in multiple songs.
According to prosecutors, Lanez and Megan, whose full name is Megan Pete, were riding in an SUV in the Hollywood Hills on July 12, 2020, when they got into an argument, prompting her to ask to be let out of the vehicle. The "Savage" rapper told police that after she exited the vehicle she heard Lanez yell, "Dance, bitch," and then he allegedly shot at her feet multiple times, injuring her, according to court documents.
On Feb. 23, commentator and podcaster DJ Akademiks claimed on Twitter that it had just been "revealed in court" that Lanez's DNA was not found on the weapon that was used in the shooting. But that tweet was sent before the day's proceedings had even started. In actuality, Lanez's attorney merely told the court that his team was retaining a DNA expert and hoped to confirm the police analysis, which she described as "favorable" from their standpoint, according to a transcript of the proceedings reviewed by BuzzFeed News.
After deleting his initial tweet, Akademiks dug in, saying that he had seen a document saying that the analysis was "inconclusive in finding TORY DNA on the gun or magazine," and Megan accused him of "spreading false narratives" about the case in a tweet of her own. Then Lanez, who was not present for the proceedings, jumped in, tweeting, "u can’t buy and tweet your way out of this one ..not today." He then tweeted, "Good D*ick had me fucking 2 best friends .... and I got caught 🤷🏾♂️," saying, "that’s what I apologized 4."
"it’s sick how u Spun it tho," Lanez wrote.
In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News and other outlets after the February hearing, the Los Angeles district attorney's office said it was aware of the issue, adding the statements on social media "do not accurately reflect the proceedings or the evidence in this case." The office went on to say that while it is "legally prohibited from commenting on the evidence," it supports Megan's version of what happened that night.
"Our office is under an ethical duty to only proceed on charges which we believe can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," the statement said, noting that a judge upheld the charges following a preliminary hearing in December.
On Tuesday, the judge said prosecutors believe a report on the evidence was given to an outside party in January, in violation of a previous court protective order that prevents discovery from being shared with members of the public, the press, or anyone not involved in the case. Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta argued that Lanez's tweets on Feb. 23 validated what Akademiks was saying to "spin the discovery," "vilify the victim," and "strike doubt in the people's evidence."
"He's talking to her at this point," Ta said, adding that he was also referring to Megan in a "derogatory" manner.
Holley told the court she didn't even know who Akademiks was and argued that because his tweets were inaccurate, Lanez's response didn't rise to the level of a violation of the protective orders.
"The fact that it's untrue suggests to me that this person did not have the document," Holley said.
She explained that, in fact, the report concluded that Lanez was excluded as a contributor to the DNA on the swab of the gun's magazine and that the analysis of the gun was "inconclusive." Holley also argued that Lanez was proclaiming his innocence in his tweets, as he is allowed to do under the protective order.
Although Herriford agreed with prosecutors that the rapper's tweets amounted to violations of the protective orders, he said he could not conclude that Lanez himself distributed the report to an outside party.
Lanez’s bail was previously increased to $250,000 in August after the court found he violated the protective order preventing him from having close contact with Megan by appearing at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami on July 25. According to Billboard, Lanez made a surprise appearance at the event, appearing onstage with DaBaby shortly after Megan performed her set.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Ta argued that the previous violation, coupled with Lanez’s recent tweets, an unspecified music video, and other factors like the 17-track Daystar album in which he denied the allegations together constituted harassment.
Ta declined to provide more details to BuzzFeed News about her motion and which music video she was referring to. Holley said she didn’t know what video the prosecutor was talking about.
Lanez has denied responsibility for the shooting, and he and his attorney have tried to cast doubt on how Megan was injured. During the Dec. 14 preliminary hearing, Holley pointed out that gunshot residue was not only found on Lanez's hands but also on the hands of the other passenger, Megan's then-friend and former assistant Kelsey Nicole. The attorney also narrowed in on what she described as "inconsistent stories" in Megan's statements about the incident, according to the court transcript of the hearing.
After a brief court appearance last week, Lanez told a BuzzFeed News reporter, "Report the truth, please. That's all I ask," as he left the courthouse with his entourage.
Lanez is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on June 9. He is currently scheduled to go on trial on Sept. 14.