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Fugees member Prakazrel 'Pras' Michel found guilty of conspiracy

The member of the 1990s hip-hop group the Fugees was found guilty of involvement in multi-million dollar political conspiracies.
Fugees member Prakazrel 'Pras' Michel found guilty of conspiracy
Posted at 7:16 PM, Apr 26, 2023

A member of the Fugees, a 1990s Grammy Award-winning hip-hop group, was convicted on criminal charges stemming from an investigation into his alleged involvement in multimillion-dollar political conspiracies with a Malaysian financier. 

The award winning rapper Prakazrel "Pras" Michel was found guilty of being involved in a series of schemes to facilitate lobbying campaigns targeted at trying to influence the U.S. government over the span of two presidential administrations. 

A jury in a Washington, D.C. federal court found Pras guilty on all 10 counts which include conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign government agent. 

The artist's attorney, David Kenner, said, “I remain very, very confident we will ultimately prevail.”

Kenner said, “This is not over.” 

The trial, in part, centered around Michel's business dealings with the Malaysian billionaire named Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low. He is currently believed to be on the run from justice.

In April, Actor Leonardo DiCaprio testified in the trial detailing how he came to know the wealthy Malaysian.

Prosecutors alleged that Michel helped Low direct money illegally into then-President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign for reelection to the White House through straw donors. He was also accused of being part of an influence campaign directed at former President Donald Trump's administration to drop criminal charges that Low faced. The U.S. Justice Department alleged that Michel handled close to $100 million through his efforts. Michel, 50, has maintained that he is innocent of the allegations. In an indictment, the U.S. Department of Justice said Low allegedly directed how $21,600,000 would be directed from "foreign entities," with Michel's involvement, in order to funnel "significant sums of money into the United States presidential election as purportedly legitimate contributions, all while concealing the true source of the money."

Low is said to have purchased art, real estate and other luxury items for high-profile people, including DiCaprio, using stolen money.

In court in April, DiCaprio was asked by a prosecutor, "Did you ever receive anything close to tens of millions of dollars separate and apart from 'The Wolf of Wall Street'?" DiCaprio said he had not. 

The actor said his team and the studio gave him the approval to receive the financing from Low for the film after background checks and other vetting processes were finished and the business relationship was approved. 

DiCaprio said he first met Low in Las Vegas and the two traveled together. 

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also testified in the trial. 

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