Fugees Pras Michel Could Be Jailed

1 April 2023 | 11:57 am | Mary Varvaris

Pras denies all allegations. His defence team will begin opening statements once the prosecution rests its case.

(Source: Twitter @afrorevolt)

Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, best known as a member of the influential US hip-hop group Fugees alongside Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean, could face significant jail time. The musician is currently on trial.

Pras faces 11 criminal charges, including lobbying schemes to influence the administrations of former US presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump on behalf of the Malaysian financier Jho Low (per ABC).

The Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are) rapper’s legal troubles began in 2019 when he was charged with a count of criminal conspiracy. 

Pras allegedly illegally donated to the 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign and apparently lobbied the Donald Trump administration to halt investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad controversy connected to Jho Low.

Pras denies all allegations. According to US prosecutors, despite the Fugees' success and Pras’ individual acclaim, he was “desperate” for money by 2012. He fell in with Low, who allegedly paid Hollywood celebrities to party with him. 

Pras’s defence lawyers won’t make their opening statements until the prosecution rests their case. It’s understood that the rapper’s legal team are planning to argue that their client was unaware he was acting as a foreign agent and was working in the public interest of the US.

“The defendant, Prakazrel Michel, received over $100 million from Jho Low, a foreign fugitive responsible for one of the largest embezzlement schemes in history, to use backchannel influence to convince the then-President of the United States to drop a federal investigation into Low and to agree to the extrajudicial removal of a Chinese exile living in the United States,” the federal prosecution said in their opening statements.

Addressing the jurors, federal prosecutor Nicole Lockhart continued, “This is a case about foreign money, foreign influence and concealment… The defendant wanted money and was willing to break any laws necessary to get paid.”

If Pras is convicted, he could be jailed for 20 years. His defence team is led by David Kenner, who successfully acquitted Snoop Dogg in his murder trial in 1996.