Despite a fervent plea by Tory Lanez to Judge David Herriford on Monday, the court denied his request for a new trial.
The rapper was found guilty on three felony charges for the shooting of fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion in December last year but shortly after filed a motion for a new trial at the end of March. On Tuesday, Lanez’s attempt at freedom was curtailed after the presiding judge denied the motion.
The ruling did not come without its share of commotion, as Lanez’s lawyers also filed a motion to disqualify the judge.
The hearing for a new trial began on Monday with Lanez’s court appearance following up a targeted public relations campaign directed at the District Attorney and the judge as Lanez spoke on audio video about the evidence in question in the last two weeks.
During arguments presented by his attorneys, Jose Baez and Matthew Barhoma, it was argued that the DNA result from the gun was in question. However, Lanez’s lawyers did not present any new evidence, only their own expert analyzing the DNA evidence, something that his trial counsel should have been prudent in doing.
That was also one of the sticking points of the arguments that Lanez received ineffective counsel from George Mdesyan, who also advised Lanez against taking the stand.
During Monday’s hearing, reporters highlighted terse exchanges between Lanez’s lawyers and the presiding judge, who reminded him that he does not practice in the jurisdiction and is unfamiliar with how things work in California.
According to the L.A. Times, James Queally, Lanez’s lawyers, had an issue with the judge not allowing them to call witnesses in court to speak on behalf of their client since, according to the judge, the written declarations were sufficient.
Monday’s hearing was described as “combative” while the judge adjourned to Tuesday morning. However, on their return, Baez hinted at filing a motion for disqualification of Judge Herriford.
The motion was filed on Tuesday morning, and during the court session, Baez reportedly told Judge Herriford that he should hold off on his ruling at least until the motion on his disqualification is decided.
Judge Herriford, however, disagreed and revealed his ruling that the motion for a new trial was denied after going through seven (7) points raised by Lanez’s attorneys.
These include the DNA evidence report, ineffective counsel, particular evidence given to the jury, Lanez’s identity being revealed, and an Instagram comment from Lanez’s account supposedly by his assistant, among others.
However, the judge ruled that there were no errors in the trial and that even if there was an error, they did not have a “material effect” on the outcome of the trial and did not prejudice Lanez’s right to due process as he received a fair trial, based on case law.
“In the end, the jury believed the prosecution’s case beyond a reasonable doubt,” the judge said.
The judge also mentioned the more than 42 pieces of incriminating evidence against Lanez that were raised in the trial that the defense is seemingly not challenging.
In the meantime, a date for sentencing of the rapper, who is facing upwards of 20 years in jail, has not been set as yet.