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Fugees’ Pras Michel Convicted of Criminal Conspiracy

Rapper faces up to 20 years in prison
Pras Michel
Pras Michel, a member of the 1990's hip-hop group the Fugees, arrives at U.S. District Court on April 3, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Fugees rapper Pras Michel has been found guilty on 10 counts for his role in a multimillion-dollar scheme to influence the federal government. The charges include conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, witness tampering, and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government (China). He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Michel was first charged in 2019 along with Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman accused of stealing $4.5 billion from 1MDB, which is the Malaysian government’s sovereign wealth fund.

Prosecutors said that Low paid Michel around $100 million to influence American politics. Low is still at large.

Last week, Michel testified that Low paid him $20 million in 2012 in an attempt to take a photo with then-President Barack Obama. Michel, through Low, sent nearly $1 million to the Obama campaign through straw donors.

Additionally, Michel was accused of lobbying the Trump administration to drop its years-long investigation into Low and the government’s attempts to seize assets bought with the embezzled funds. He was also accused of attempting to influence the government to extradite Guo Wengui, a Chinese dissident. Guo was arrested in March for conspiracy.

Michel also failed to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which would have labeled him as an agent of a foreign government.

The trial lasted for a little over a month and included testimony from Leonardo DiCaprio and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

No sentencing date for Michel has been set.

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