Rapper Tory Lanez pleaded not guilty through his lawyer Wednesday to felony assault charges in the July shooting of hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion.
Lawyer Shawn Chapman Holley entered the plea in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom to counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle on behalf of Lanez, 28, who was not at the hearing.
In a criminal complaint, prosecutors said Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, fired on a victim identified as “Megan P.” after she got out of an SUV during an argument in the Hollywood Hills on July 12, and “inflicted great bodily injury” on her. Megan Thee Stallion’s legal name is Megan Pete. If convicted, Lanez faces a maximum sentence of roughly 23 years.
The Canadian rapper was charged in October after months of speculation and publicity surrounding the incident. At first, Los Angeles police reported the incident only as shots fired, a woman with foot injuries, and a man arrested on a weapons allegation.
Megan Thee Stallion revealed a few days later that her foot injuries came from gunshots, and more than a month later said in an Instagram video that it was Lanez who fired them. She slowly revealed more via social media in subsequent weeks.
“The way people have publicly questioned and debated whether I played a role in my own violent assault proves that my fears about discussing what happened were, unfortunately, warranted,” she wrote.