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Rapper Tory Lanez sentenced to 10 years for Megan Thee Stallion shooting

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A judge has sentenced Tory Lanez to 10 years in prison. Lanez is the rapper and producer who shot and injured another artist, Megan Thee Stallion, after a party in Los Angeles three years ago. NPR's Chloe Veltman reports.

CHLOE VELTMAN, BYLINE: Los Angeles Superior Court judge David Herriford spent two days hearing detailed arguments from the prosecutors and the defense before handing down his sentence. Tory Lanez was found guilty back in December of three felonies related to the unregistered possession and negligent use of a semiautomatic firearm. Legal affairs journalist Meghann Cuniff shared her impressions in a video outside the courthouse during a break from the proceedings.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MEGHANN CUNIFF: Herriford is really getting into appellate decisions and that kind of thing. You know, it can be a little hard to follow and hard to track.

VELTMAN: The prosecutors wanted a hefty prison term. In addition to the shooting, they argued Tory Lanez and his fans launched a hate campaign against Megan Thee Stallion on social media and also in songs like this one by fellow rapper Drake. The lyrics say she lied about getting shot.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CIRCO LOCO")

DRAKE: (Rapping) [Expletive] lie about getting shots, but she's still a stallion. She don't even get the joke, but she's still smiling. Every night...

VELTMAN: The prosecutor said all of this negativity retraumatized the victim. Meanwhile, the defense was pushing for probation instead of prison time, sharing details about the rapper's struggles with alcohol, his childhood trauma and his mental health. Speaking after the sentencing, Tory Lanez's lawyer, Jose Baez, says he planned to file a motion for bail, pending appeal.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOSE BAEZ: To get a 10-year sentence is extreme and really just another example of someone being punished for their celebrity status.

VELTMAN: According to journalist Meghann Cuniff, Tory Lanez spoke for several minutes in the courtroom. He called Megan Thee Stallion his friend and said he still cares about her. The plaintiff wasn't in court, but she issued a written statement saying, quote, "for once, the defendant must be forced to face the full consequences of his heinous actions and face justice."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR PODCAST)

GABBY BULGARELLI, BYLINE: Being a woman going up against this male-dominated industry, Megan is really fighting an uphill battle.

VELTMAN: That's Gabby Bulgarelli from NPR's hip-hop podcast Louder Than A Riot. She's followed this case for months. In an interview for NPR's It's Been A Minute, she noted the paradox at its heart.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR PODCAST)

BULGARELLI: Hip-hop was born out of a need to speak truth. But in a lot of ways, people who do that are vilified and further disenfranchised.

VELTMAN: Bulgarelli wondered if Megan Thee Stallion's treatment by men in the industry could put other women off coming forward with cases of abuse. Today's sentencing might now be seen as a note of encouragement.

Chloe Veltman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Chloe Veltman
Chloe Veltman is a correspondent on NPR's Culture Desk.