Key witness in Tory Lanez trial 'surrendered' after disappearing ahead of his testimony

Justin Edison, Megan Thee Stallion's former bodyguard, failed to testify.

December 23, 2022, 8:01 PM

As the jury deliberated in the trial of rapper Tory Lanez, who is charged with allegedly shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Justin Edison -- a key witness who has been missing since last Thursday -- has been located, a family attorney told ABC News.

"He was found and [the] bench warrant was recalled," Michael Zweiback, the attorney for Justin Edison's father, Harold Edison said, adding that Justin Edison "came forward today because of what was happening to his family."

Asked if Justin Edison is in custody, Zweiback said, "he was released" and that the "matter [was] dismissed."

Laura Bell, Justin Edison's attorney, appeared surprised when asked by ABC News to confirm the development on Friday afternoon, saying it was "good," but that she "didn't know anything about that."

ABC News has reached out to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office for confirmation and a request for comment was not immediately returned.

A jury in Los Angeles found Lanez guilty on all three charges in the shooting of hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion on July 12, 2020 in the Hollywood Hills.

Justin Edison, who was working as a bodyguard for Megan Thee Stallion during the time of the incident until early 2021, was scheduled to appear on the witness stand last Friday but never showed up, his father, Harold Edison, told "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview.

Harold Edison said he has not heard from Justin since last Thursday.

PHOTO: Justin Edison.
Justin Edison.
Courtesy of Harold Edison

"My hope is that [Justin] comes forward so that he doesn't assume the risks that we discussed before," Harold Edison told "GMA."

"I explained to him that this is not worth the risk … we must maintain our integrity," he added.

Harold Edison's attorney, Michael Zweiback, told "GMA" that the court issued a bench warrant for Justin Edison after he failed to appear in court, leading to "continual harassment" of the Edison family as they searched for Justin.

Harold Edison said that investigators from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office are searching for his son after he failed to appear for his scheduled testimony, with a SWAT team entering his home and placing him in handcuffs in front of his 8-year-old daughter.

PHOTO: Megan Thee Stallion's former bodyguard Justin Edison, left, is pictured with his father Harold Edison.
Megan Thee Stallion's former bodyguard Justin Edison, left, is pictured with his father Harold Edison.
Courtesy of Harold Edison

"I really want this to stop. This is a clear abuse of law enforcement," Harold Edison said.

Asked to confirm whether a SWAT team was sent to Harold Edison's home, the DA's office did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

"As this matter involves a trial in progress we decline to comment," a spokesperson for the DA's office told ABC News on Tuesday when asked to confirm reports that investigators are looking for Justin Edison.

"We want to make sure he's safe and that he gets home safely and deals with what he needs to deal with," Zweiback said.

PHOTO: Harold Edison, joined by his daughters, speak with Good Morning America about the disappearance of his son Justin Edison ahead of his scheduled testimony in the trial of rapper Tory Lanez.
Harold Edison, joined by his daughters, speak with Good Morning America about the disappearance of his son Justin Edison ahead of his scheduled testimony in the trial of rapper Tory Lanez.
ABC News

Justin Edison was present in the aftermath of the alleged shooting that took place in July 2020 and was subpoenaed to testify, according to Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott.

Megan Thee Stallion, whose legal name is Megan Pete, testified that Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, shot and injured both her feet. Lanez, who didn't take the witness stand, pleaded not guilty and his attorneys argued during the trial that he is "falsely accused."

PHOTO: In this Dec. 13, 2022, file photo, singer Tory Lanez returns to the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center for his trial in Los Angeles.
In this Dec. 13, 2022, file photo, singer Tory Lanez returns to the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center for his trial in Los Angeles.
Damian Dovarganes/AP, FILE

A key piece of evidence presented to the jury was a text message that Pete's then-friend Kelsey Harris sent to Justin Edison moments after the incident, saying, "Help Tory shot Meg 911."

Harris initially corroborated details that point to Lanez as the alleged shooter in a September video interview with prosecutors but changed her story on the witness stand last week.

"I don't know why I said that to Justin. I didn't see anything happen," Harris testified, according to Los Angeles' KABC.

Harold Edison said his son had been "nervous" about testifying because "this was a high-profile case."

Asked why the family has not filed a missing person's report, Zweiback told ABC News they "don't trust law enforcement" after they started to "harass the family" following Justin's Edison's disappearance.

The Los Angeles Police Department told ABC News there is no ongoing investigation related to the disappearance of Justin.

PHOTO: Megan Thee Stallion whose legal name is Megan Pete makes her way from the Hall of Justice to the courthouse to testify in the trial of Rapper Tory Lanez for allegedly shooting her on Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles.
Megan Thee Stallion whose legal name is Megan Pete makes her way from the Hall of Justice to the courthouse to testify in the trial of Rapper Tory Lanez for allegedly shooting her on Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles.
Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

"We are deeply distressed by Justin's sudden disappearance," Mari Henderson, counsel for Megan Thee Stallion, told ABC News in a statement on Thursday.

"It's a scary situation and we truly hope his loved ones file a missing persons report and that Justin is found safely and unharmed," she added.

ABC News has reached out to attorneys for Lanez and Harris for further comment.

ABC News' Matthew Yahata, Sabina Ghebremedhin and Abby Cruz contributed to this report.

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