Fugees rapper Prakazrel “Pras” Michel landed a guilty verdict for charges related to a multimillion-dollar political conspiracy, reported by CNN. The trial included testimony from notable figures such as actor Leonardo DiCaprio and former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The accusations against Pras Michel included using straw donors to funnel money from a now-fugitive Malaysian financier to Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, as well as trying to influence an extradition case on behalf of China under the Trump administration. He received convictions of conspiracy to defraud the US, witness tampering, and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government. Michel faces up to 20 years in prison, although there is currently no sentencing date.
Despite the guilty verdict, Michel’s attorney David Kenner expressed confidence that mistrial motions will work out in their favor. Kenner stated, “We are extremely disappointed in that result but are very, very confident in the ultimate outcome of this case…If we do move to a sentencing hearing, I remain very confident we will certainly appeal this case. This is not over.”
The defense argued that Pras Michel simply wanted to make money and received bad legal advice as he ventured into the world of politics. Michel claimed that he never used the money at the direction of Malaysian financer Low Taek Jho, but instead saw it as his own money to spend however he wanted. Michel first met Jho in 2006 when Jho was dropping large sums of money and socializing with celebrities such as Paris Hilton. Jho helped finance Hollywood films, including “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Jho, charged alongside Michel, is currently in China.
The case against Michel is part of a larger investigation into corruption in Malaysian politics. The Malaysian government has accused Jho of using money stolen from the state investment fund, 1MDB, to finance his lavish lifestyle and bribe officials. The scandal has led to criminal charges and investigations in several countries, including the US.
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