Both parties have until July to file further motions, such as a request for a judgement of acquittal.
Fugees rapper Prakazrel “Pras” Michel has been found guilty of criminal conspiracy to influence the US government. A jury in a Washington D.C. court also found him guilty of the charges of witness tampering and “failing to register as an agent of China,” Pitchfork reports.
Upon entering the courtroom, Pras was facing up to 11 serious criminal charges including lobbying schemes to influence the administrations of former US presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump on behalf of the Malaysian financier and fugitive Jho Low.
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 lobbied the Donald Trump administration to halt investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad controversy connected to Low.
Pras denied 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 including Leonardo DiCaprio to party with him.
At the time of writing, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly hasn’t issued Pras’s sentence, but the charges could find him jailed for a significant amount of time. Both parties have until July to file further motions, such as a request for a judgement of acquittal, ABC reports.
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“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 prosecutor 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.”