Pras Michel’s Case Is Going To Jury This Week: What To Know

Deliberation in the Fugees member’s federal conspiracy trial began Monday.

On Monday (April 24), jury deliberation in the case against Fugees member Pras Michel will begin.

Michel has been accused of being the key figure of an international, multimillion-dollar conspiracy. His three-week trial saw testimony from a slew of figures, including Leonardo DiCaprio and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to CNN.

Prosecutors allege the 50-year-old Grammy winner plunged into the world of American politics, doing the bidding for a wealthy Malaysian financier to gain access, wealth and use his influence. In 2019, he was indicted on federal charges that Low Taek Jho paid him millions of dollars to help launder money Low had allegedly embezzled from a state-owned investment fund in his home country.

The Fugees’ Pras Decides To Testify In His Own Federal Conspiracy Trial

The Fugees’ Pras Decides To Testify In His Own Federal Conspiracy Trial

Michel was allegedly paid millions of dollars by Low to secure access to both former presidents Obama and Trump and attempted to use those connections to advocate on Low and China’s behalf.

Last week, Pras reportedly testified that Low asked him in 2012 to set up a picture of himself and then-President Barack Obama, which Michel allegedly asked for $1 million for and that he would think about how to make that happen. Prosecutors say he then funneled over $800,000 of that money to the Obama Victory Fund through various straw donors at several events attended by the 44th President.

Michel would then receive over $100 million from Low to help advocate for the release of Chinese dissident Guo Wengui from the United States to China and for the U.S. government to cease its investigation into Low, prosecutors say.

Pras Michel faces 10 charges including conspiracy, witness tampering and failing to register as an agent of China. He faces over 10 years in prison if convicted on each charge and has denied the accusations, pleading not guilty.

According to Michel, he testified that he believed that he “could just give my friends” money to contribute to the campaign and that he gave money “to these people to make the donations.” Between $700,000 and $800,000 of the money went to friends of Michel who then donated it to the Obama Victory Fund committee, Pras noted in court.

In closing arguments, defense attorney David Kenner emphasized the lack of evidence to suggest Michel intentionally or knowingly violated any laws when accepting the funds. Kenner argued that Michel's actions were largely influenced by the counsel of his legal and financial advisors at the time.

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