Former Fugees Rapper Pras Michel Found Guilty of Colluding with China in ‘Clandestine Foreign Influence Campaign Scheme’

Pras Michel, former member of the Fugees, exits federal court in Washington, DC, US, on Mo
Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg/Getty

A federal court in Washington found rapper Pras Michel, former artist for The Fugees, guilty on Wednesday of colluding with the Chinese government.

“The Grammy-winning artist and former member of the Fugees faced multiple counts over the failed conspiracy to help Malaysian businessman Jho Low and the Chinese government gain access to U.S. officials, including former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump,” reported CNN.

Michel now faces up to 20 years in prison after being found “guilty of conspiracy to defraud the US, witness tampering and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.” Michel remained largely silent throughout the proceedings on Wednesday. His attorney, David Kenner, said the case will be appealed and called the verdict disappointing.

“We are extremely disappointed in that result but are very, very confident in the ultimate outcome of this case,” Kenner told reporters. “If we do move to a sentencing hearing I remain very confident we will certainly appeal this case. This is not over.”

Pras Michel, former member of the Fugees, center, exits federal court in Washington, DC, on Monday, April 3, 2023. A prosecutor told jurors last week that Michel was driven by greed and “profited exorbitantly” as he sought to lobby the U.S. government illegally on behalf of a financier. (Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Prosecutors had alleged that Michel funneled $800,000 that Low paid to him in 2012 to get a picture with former President Barack Obama. Michel gave the money to Obama’s campaign through a series of straw donors. As Breitbart News reported:

Federal prosecutors say that Michael distributed up to $21.6 million of Low’s money to some 20 straw donors who then donated the money to Obama. The straw donors were U.S. citizens employed to make the donations to shield the fact that the money actually came illegally from a foreign donor.

Michael is alleged to have been paid $70 million by Low to affect the donations scheme and other services he provided. Michael has been charged with 11 criminal counts of trying to influence the Obama and Trump administrations.

Michel, however, claimed that he used the money at his own discretion and did not follow Low’s orders.  “I could have bought 12 elephants with it,” Michel testified. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio recently testified that he found the money in donations to Obama’s campaign surprising.

“It was a significant sum — something to the tune of $20-30 million,” DiCaprio said on the stand. “I said, ‘Wow that’s a lot of money!’”

According to CNN, Low approached Michel again in 2017 when former President Trump’s administration began investigating “his alleged role in billions of dollars being embezzled from 1MBD, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.”

File/Lauryn Hill and Pras perform at Global Citizen Live at Pier 17 on September 22, 2021 in New York City. (Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

“According to the prosecutors, Low directed over $100 million to Michel to help push the government, including Trump, to drop its investigation into Low,” noted CNN. “Prosecutors also say Michel advocated for the extradition of a Chinese dissident, Guo Wengui, on behalf of the Chinese government.”

“Michel, however, testified he only tried to help Low find an attorney in the US and only told authorities about Guo because he thought he was a criminal. The former Fugees member also said the $100 million was for a media business he was starting and the investment wasn’t from Low,” it added.

Low, who frequented Hollywood circles, is believed to be in China.

Paul Roland Bois joined Breitbart News in 2021. He also directed the award-winning feature film, EXEMPLUM, which can be viewed on TubiGoogle PlayYouTube Movies, or VIMEO On Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.


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