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Top HipHop Uproxx

Three weeks after being found guilty of assault in the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion (as well as two other charges) and facing up to 20 years in prison, Tory Lanez has reportedly tapped a new defense lawyer for his upcoming appeal. According to Meghann Cuniff (aka “Meghann Thee Reporter,” as fans dubbed her for her coverage during the trial), Lanez traded in George Mgdesyan for David Kenner, who previously represented Death Row co-founder Suge Knight and Snoop Dogg.

“Regarding Tory Lanez’s Tuesday court date, yes, there is a date listed on the jail roster,” Cuniff wrote on Twitter. “It’s not on Judge Herriford’s calendar, and he’s got a bunch of other stuff at the time. Attorney David Kenner confirmed to me last week he’s now representing Tory.” In a follow-up tweet, she noted that while Kenner is an experienced defender, “he’s joining the case a bit late: Before trial would have been better.”

She was careful to point out that “everything we’re discussing here is standard and expected post-conviction litigation – asking judge to reduce to misdemeanors, requesting new trial based on perceived issues with evidence/witnesses – but David Kenner only recently got on the case. Give it time.” She also confirmed that Tory’s January 10 hearing is to formalize the switch to Kenner.

What Cuniff didn’t point out (but hinted at) is that Mgdesyan turned out to be a bit of a disaster for Tory’s defense. A witness called to help clear Tory of firing the shots that wounded Megan Thee Stallion (or at least cast doubt as to whether Tory or Kelsey Harris, Megan’s friend who was with them at the time, did so) all but confirmed that the “smaller guy” both held and fired the gun — enough to establish the assault charge and related negligent discharge of a firearm count. Tory was convicted on all three charges (including possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle).

And while his supporters, including his father, who blamed the whole thing on Jay-Z for some reason, think Tory was railroaded, in truth, when his own defense lawyer pretty much sealed his fate, it’s hard to argue that anyone is to blame than Tory — whether for shooting at Megan in the first place or for not vetting his representation more thoroughly before the trial.

Megan Thee Stallion is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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