Megan Thee Stallion‘s former friend and assistant Kelsey Harris testified Wednesday that she never saw Tory Lanez shooting a gun the night Megan was shot in her feet. She told a prosecutor trying to convict Lanez of assault that she made statements that “weren’t accurate” in a recorded September interview partly played for the jury.
“There were some things I wasn’t truthful about,” Harris said before Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta played a clip from Harris’ interview in which she sounds much more relaxed and candid as she spoke about Lanez’s alleged actions the night of the July 12, 2020, shooting. On the witness stand, Harris appeared more animated when testifying about Megan, saying: “I’m neutral; I moved on with my life” but that Megan spread false rumors that “I took hush money.”
Asked later what her falling out with Megan was about, Harris replied, “Um, that’s a great question. I don’t know.” Ta asked it was because she believed that in Megan’s public statement about the shooting, “she didn’t protect you enough.”
“Yes,” she said.
She was much more subdued when answering questions about Lanez, telling Ta about the night of the shooting, “It was a blur, and we were under the influence.”
In reluctant, sparsely worded testimony, Harris sporadically invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and described her presence in court as “triggering” for her. At around 4:30 a.m. on July 12, 2020, Megan, Lanez and Harris had been were leaving reality star Kylie Jenner‘s home. Harris testified that Lanez had implied Megan was hiding something from Harris during the argument that prompted Megan to exit the Escalade. Megan testified Tuesday that she exited the vehicle amid a heated argument, then heard Lanez say, “Dance, bitch” — then saw him standing through a window firing a gun. Police found spent shell casings at the scene, and a surgeon removed bullet fragments from one of Megan’s feet, both of which were wounded.
Harris texted Megan’s manager moments after the gunfire was reported, “Help. Tory shot meg. 911.” in three messages. But Harris on Wednesday she was only assuming so when she texted that. She never identified Lanez as the gunman on the witness stand, and she rebuffed Ta’s attempts to press her into doing so.
“I didn’t see him, and I told you that. I didn’t see him do that,” she told Ta on Wednesday. “I didn’t see him do that.”
Her testimony didn’t change after Ta played recordings of her contrary September interview, including one in which she said she answered Lanez’s threat by saying, “Alright, if you shoot me, you shoot me, I guess it’s my time to go.” After a discussion among the attorneys outside the jury’s earshot, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Herriford reminded the jurors that the recording of Harris’ September interview with prosecutors was not evidence and was instead being used to try to refresh Harris’ memory of what she said then.
Harris’ guarded answers to Ta offered a firsthand account of a close friendship between two women that ripped apart after shooting, Lanez’s arrest and subsequent felony indictment, and the fierce debate within the hip-hop industry about what happened and who was to blame. She and Megan both had been intimate with Lanez, and Megan’s initial story to the Los Angeles police officers who’d pulled them over at gunpoint was that she’d merely stepped on glass. She came forward about the shooting four days later, but her claims about broken glass continue to fuel speculative and often vitriolic criticism.
Lanez’s lawyer George Mgdeysan, however, isn’t disputing that Megan was shot, and he said in his opening statement on Monday that police and prosecutors wrongly rushed to charge Lanez while ignoring Harris. He’s expected to cross-examine Harris tomorrow after Ta finishes her direct examination.
Before the jury entered the courtroom about 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Judge Herriford announced he would be allowing Harris to invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination under California Evidence Code 940. Doing so requires him to determine that her possible answers could in fact incriminate her, but no public record exists of Herriford’s reasoning regarding Harris. Ta and Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott granted Harris immunity in exchange for her testimony, with Ta saying they had no criminal investigation involving Harris.
View this post on Instagram
Citing the witness’s immunity, the prosecutor pressed Harris about her reticence on the witness stand. At one point, Ta needled Harris about whom she was trying to protect when she supposedly lied during the September interview and said she saw Lanez firing the gun. Prosecutors’ agreement to give Harris immunity meant she couldn’t plead the Fifth, but she asked to do so when Ta asked if Lanez had threatened to shoot her.
“Do I have to answer that?” Harris asked.
“Yes,” Ta answered.
Harris did so by saying, “Yes, ma’am,” affirming that Lanez threatened to shoot her.
Asked what Lanez said, Harris asked, “Can I take my Fifth?” Ta told her she’d have to speak with her lawyer. Daniel Nardoni of Pasadena, California, was in court with her, and she conferenced with him for a few moments before Ta again asked Harris what Lanez told her.
“Again, I want to answer my Fifth Amendment,” Harris said.
“You have to answer that question,” Ta said. The continued exchange captured the essence of approximately 2.5 hours of testimony stretched over a 90-minute and 15-minute break, with Ta becoming increasingly combative with Harris as she tried to avoid answering questions and denied things she’d once said were true.
Ta asked, “Kelsey, why don’t you want to answer that question,” and she said, “It’s just, I don’t know.” She added, “I don’t want to be here” but said of what Lanez told her in the car, “I don’t know. It don’t matter to me. I just, I don’t want to be here.”
Ta also asked Harris about Lanez offering her $1 million not to testify against him, saying, “Kelsey, at some point in this case, did Tory try to bribe you?”
“Um,” Harris said, before a pregnant, roughly 20-second pause.
“Not just me,” she said.
Ta followed by asking Harris who else Lanez tried to bribe. That’s when Harris said, “I wouldn’t say ‘bribe.'” She said Lanez said it wasn’t “about not saying anything, no,” but then she added, “but it was mentioned.” She also said, “He mentioned a million dollars…I guess it was just about the case.”
Ta asked, “He offered you a million dollars to keep quiet” about the shooting?
“That’s not the exact wording,” Harris answered. “He mentioned the million, but again it’s a blur.” Ta asked Harris if she’s previously said Lanez offered her favors for not talking, and she answered, “Again, I said a few things in our interview.”
Ta began her exam by asking Harris how she was feeling about being in court.
“I don’t care to be here today…I mean, it’s a trigger, you know, situation,” Harris testified. Asked what was triggering her, Harris answered, “Anxiety. Postpartum. Currently dealing with a death. I just do not want to be here.”
“I mean, this has happened in the face of a million people,” she continued. She cited “lies from Megan,” and said she felt betrayed. Ta asked early on about the claim at the core of Lanez’s defense: That it was Harris who fired the bullets that left fragments in Megan’s feet, with one operated on by a surgeon.
Harris said she’s heard the accusations that it wasn’t Lanez but her who shot Megan and, “I mean, it’s ridiculous.”
She identified Lanez seated at the defense table by saying, “He has an all-black turtle neck, suit.” She said she first met him at a Roc Nation music label brunch earlier in 2020, and later “me and Tory kind of had some communication.”
“We had a few nights, you know, where we were engaged,” Harris said. Ta asked her what she meant by engaged.
“More than a friendship,” Harris said. Ta questioned her about her relationship with Lanez changing after she went to Texas, confirming with Harris they were both from there and Harris answering, “I don’t know where she’s from. Baxer County? I’m from Victoria, Texas.” She caught COVID while back in Houston, and as she was gone, Megan’s relationship with Tory developed.
“Did they get closer?” Ta asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” Harris answered. Harris had her own place in Houston – “funded by myself” – but Megan told her she was buying a new home, and she could get rid of her stuff because she was buying everything new. She returned to Los Angeles to stay with Megan – or “Meg” as she called her – then went to reality star Kylie Jenner’s home for what she repeatedly told Ta was not a party.
“I also want to be very clear – it wasn’t a party. Just a few people hanging out,” Harris said. She reminded Ta of this several times as Ta tried to remember to call it a gathering. She said “Megan wanted to make nachos for everyone” while three or four people were outside enjoying themselves. “We were all playing beer pong, just kinda having a great time,” she said.
Harris said Megan walked outside and said, “Y’all having fun without me,” and the others said told her to join them.
“I don’t know what happened with the food. I guess everyone forgot about it,” Harris said. They group continued “doing what everybody would do. Enjoying themselves. Swimming in the pool.” Harris said she went and passed out at some point because “I’d had a lot of alcohol” and when she woke up, Megan was drunk and “seemed a little off.”
“Doing this laughing, just obnoxiously,” Harris said. Harris said Megan’s demeanor “was off, she doesn’t want to be here.”
“What was Tory doing?” Ta asked.
“Just being Tory. Flirting,” Harris answered.
Harris said she told Megan, “your appearance isn’t together, let’s go.” Megan wanted Lanez to leave with her and was still laughing her “obnoxious laugh,” Harris said, when she went outside where Lanez was. As established by prosecutors and in Megan’s testimony, Lanez was in the pool with Jenner.
“Apparently a fight or argument happened,” Harris testified. “I wasn’t there, so I don’t know.” Megan soon returned inside, and Harris asking Ta, “I’m sorry, can I cuss?” and recounting what Megan said after Ta affirmed that profanity in court is fine.
“She’s like, ‘Bitch, we gotta get the fuck out,'” Harris said, quoting Megan. The three leave in an Escalade driven by Lanez’s driver, Jaquan Smith, and Megan “is, she’s just rambling.”
“About what?” Ta asked.
“So many things,” Harris answered. Harris said there was “so much stuff” and back and forth name-calling between “me, Megan, Megan, Tory.”
“They were both going back and forth about artistry, I guess,” she said. “We’re all just taking jabs at each other.” She appeared reluctant to implicate Lanez on anything, including whether he’d called Megan “bitches and hoes” with Ta reminding her she’d said during her September interview that he said that.
“Again, we were all calling each other names, so, so yes, ma’am,” Harris said.
Ta said a few times Harris, “When you talked to us in September it wasn’t a blur,” Ta said.
Harris answered “no” when asked if she shot Megan, but when asked if who did, she said, “Again, I was getting out of the car” and did not see what happened. She also struggled to explain a recorded phone call Lanez made to her from jail hours after the shooting, saying, “That night, I don’t remember an apology.”
“Again, it was a blur,” she said.
Harris is to continue testifying Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Pacific time in Los Angeles.
Follow reporter Meghann Cuniff on Twitter for live updates from the courthouse.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]