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Ex-Fugees Rapper ‘Pras’ Found Guilty On Charges Involving International Conspiracy Between China And U.S. Gov

  Grammy-winning artist Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, former member of the 1990s hip-hop trio the Fugees, was found guilty Wednesday in a federal...

 Grammy-winning artist Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, former member of the 1990s hip-hop trio the Fugees, was found guilty Wednesday in a federal court on 10 criminal counts related to an international conspiracy to help China influence the U.S. government.

Michel, 50, was convicted of conspiracy, concealment of material facts, making false entries in records, witness tampering, and serving as an unregistered agent of a foreign power in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to the Department of Justice. He pleaded not guilty to all changes.

“As proven at trial, the defendant engaged in an extensive conspiracy to use millions of dollars in foreign funds to engage in illegal back-channel lobbying and make unlawful campaign contributions,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., said in a news release.

Michel, who rose to fame in the early 1990s upon forming the East Coast hip-hop trio with Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean, played a central role in a wide-ranging conspiracy to improperly influence top government officials, including the Obama and Trump administrations, authorities said.

Prosecutor Sean Mulryne told the jury in closing arguments that the rapper was “at the center of the conspiracy.”

“He’s the core; he’s the linchpin,” Mulryne said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Authorities said Michel received more than $100 million from Malaysian financier Jho Low, who also faces charges separately for allegedly embezzling billions from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, between 2009 and 2014.

Court documents and trial evidence detail that Low and Michel conspired to lobby President Trump and the Justice Department to drop the 1MDB embezzlement investigation and extradite a Chinese national on behalf of Beijing. CNN reported the rapper denied Low gave him the money, claiming it was an investment for a media business. Authorities also accused Michel and Low of lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of Beijing to extradite a Chinese dissident living in America.


During the Obama administration, authorities said Michel and Low funneled millions of dollars into roughly 20 straw donors for President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012. According to NBC, Michel told trial jurors last week that he accepted approximately $20 million from Low, who hoped to get a picture with Obama, though he claimed he did not intend for the money to be used as foreign campaign contributions or his services.

Michel also admitted to giving approximately $800,000 in donation money to friends intended for exclusive access to Obama fundraisers in Miami and Washington D.C., roughly priced at $40,000 per seat. Still, he considered the funds “free money” and his to spend.

Michel also claimed he was never told to register as a foreign agent.

Attorney David Kenner, who represented Michel, told reporters the rapper plans to appeal his conviction after sentencing.

“We are extremely disappointed in the results and are very, very confident in the ultimate outcome of this case,” Kenner told reporters.“This is not over. I remain very, very confident that we will ultimately prevail in this matter.”

Michel faces up to 20 years in prison.

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