Former Fugees member Prakazrel ‘Pras’ Michel has been convicted on criminal charges after a protracted court case. A judge has ruled that he conspired with the Malaysian billionaire Jho Low to stage numerous foreign lobbying campaigns to influence the US government administrations of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Low also faces separate federal charges in New York with the claim that he embezzled $4.5 billion from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.
Michel first met Low in 2006, when the financier was mixing with the wealthy elite, including Paris Hilton. He was also a primary funding source for Martin Scorsese’s film The Wolf of Wall Street, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie. DiCaprio testified in the case, maintaining that Low appeared legitimate. Other high-profile witnesses featured in the trial, including former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Pras Michel was charged with ten counts, including acting as an unregistered foreign agent of China, witness tampering and falsifying campaign finance records. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Michel’s defence argued that the rapper solely wanted to make money and got bad legal advice as he entered the political world.
David Kenner, Michel’s lawyer, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the verdict but is hopeful the charges will be dismissed by the judge.
A date for sentencing is yet to be set.