Tory Lanez’s former trial attorney, George Mgdesyan, was not fired and the decision to not take part in his client’s appeal was “mutual,” he exclusively tells Page Six.
“I did not get fired. I’m still friends with them,” the California-based attorney adds.
“I met with Tory’s dad. I went and visited Tory, so I wanted to be very clear because I know there are people who are reporting facts that are not true.”
Mgdesyan further clarifies that he did not “resign” either. He and Lanez, 30, simply agreed it would best for the Canadian rapper to hire an appeals attorney since he doesn’t “do appeals.”
“I’m a trial lawyer. I don’t have time for appeals,” the criminal defense lawyer adds. “I’m in court every day. I try probably five to seven cases a year, so it’s a lot of trial work, court work.
“For an appeal lawyer, you’ve got to have your office reading transcripts and I am not one of those lawyers.”
Although Mgdesyan is not directly representing Lanez anymore, he says he is “still part of the case” because he continues to advise the “LUV” singer’s new team.
“It’s not like I’m washing my hands and we’re not part of the team anymore, I’m just not going to be doing the day to day,” he says. “The decision was made to hire somebody who works with the appeal lawyer, but I’m still helping to see what I could do to help the defense.”
Last week, it was announced that Lanez had retained Los Angeles appellate and litigation lawyer Matthew Barhoma who, according to a press release sent to Page Six, is “known for his successes in vacating convictions for numerous defendants who faced wrongful and overzealous prosecutions and unjust charges.”
Lanez’s most recent addition to his team this week was Jose Baez, who famously and successfully defended Casey Anthony in the murder trial for her 3-year-old daughter.
The high-powered lawyer told TMZ Tuesday that he wished he had “come in sooner” to represent Lanez, noting that he thought there were some “procedural errors” that took place during the trial.
Meanwhile, Mgdesyan says it’s an appeal lawyer’s job to look for “trial errors” in order for their client to be tried again.
He tells Page Six that he blames their loss on the district attorney playing on the jurors’ emotions, rather than focusing on the evidence of the case.
On Dec. 23, Lanez was found guilty of shooting Megan the Stallion in July 2020 following an argument that ensued inside an SUV vehicle. The “Savage” rapper’s former best friend, Kelsey Harris, was also present at the time.
The defense argued during the trial that Harris and not their client, Lanez, was the shooter. Harris has denied these allegations, calling them “ridiculous.”
“The fact that [the jurors] deliberated for two days shows there was something there, there was reasonable doubt,” Mgdesyan says.
Also, according to him, “The district attorney has no explanation about why an independent witness sees two girls fighting and then sees Kelsey go to a car to get something and then sees a muzzle flash. There’s not even anybody discussing these facts.”
The trial lawyer adds, “Nobody deserves to be shot, but we’re not disputing whether she got shot or not. The dispute was who shot her?”
Mgdesyan maintains Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, is innocent and that — as he previously said in court — Harris allegedly shot Megan, 27, because the two women found out they had both been sexually involved with Lanez and were upset about it.
He says of the prosecution’s strategy, “Their closing argument and the rebuttal, again, it was all about [how] this has been miserable for [Megan] the last two years, it just played to the emotions about why black women don’t come forward.
“It doesn’t explain what happened that day, why she waited, who she left with, why she lied about who drove her, why did she want to go back, why she was upset with Tory for staying at Kylie’s [Jenner] house, why she lied about Tory getting out of the car and shooting at her when there’s an independent witness saying the two girls are fighting. There are just a lot of issues here.”
Page Six has reached out to Megan’s team for comment on Mgdesyan’s remarks.
Aside from what happened inside the courtroom, there was also a court of public opinion that also weighed in heavily on the case in the press and on social media.
A turning point for many who previously supported Lanez, including 50 Cent, was a phone call from jail, in which Lanez could be heard apologizing to Harris.
“What happened happened, I can’t take it back,” the “Say It” singer said in the audio. “But I’m just telling you I’m sorry.”
However, Mgdesyan says he explained during the trial why Lanez was sorry — and claims it was not over the shooting.
“The reason he was apologizing was because he was the underlying reason why all this happened by him disclosing that he had a sexual relationship with both of them, which put Kelsey over the top, which led to the two girls fighting,” he says.
Mgdesyan adds that he recognizes the apology could be perceived as an admission of guilt, but points out, “Tory isn’t stupid to call on a jail call and apologize for a shooting. It does say, ‘it’s being recorded.’”
The trial lawyer concludes of his former client, “He was wonderful. He’s a great guy, a religious man, who firmly believed in his innocence and unfortunately it was a heartbreaking verdict. As a person, there’s nothing bad I could say about Tory.”
Page Six has reached out to Lanez and Harris for comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.