Ex-Fugees rapper Pras Michel who Funneled $800,000 to Obama’s Campaign in 2012 found guilty in scheme to help China influence US government.
Grammy award-winning Fugees rapper Pras Michel was found guilty on Wednesday of ten criminal counts related to an international conspiracy aimed at influencing the US government.
Michel, a 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 US officials, including former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Michel was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the US, witness tampering, and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Michel is reported to have funneled over $800,000 of $20 million paid to him by Low in 2012 to Obama’s campaign through a number of straw donors. Michel testified that he never used the money at Low’s direction but instead saw it as his money which he could spend however he wanted. “I could have bought 12 elephants with it,” he told the jury. However, prosecutors alleged that Low directed over $100 million to Michel to help push the government, including Trump, to drop its investigation into Low.
Michel also testified that he only tried to help Low find an attorney in the US and only told authorities about Chinese dissident Guo Wengui because he thought he was a criminal. However, prosecutors alleged that Michel advocated for the extradition of Wengui on behalf of the Chinese government. The former Fugees member also said the $100 million was for a media business he was starting, and the investment wasn’t from Low.
Low, who was charged along with Michel, is believed to be in China. Guo has since been arrested and charged by the Justice Department with defrauding investors in an unrelated case.
Michel sat stoically as each count came down on Wednesday and did not comment to reporters outside the courthouse. His attorney, David Kenner, expressed disappointment about the verdicts, but said he was confident that his mistrial motions will work out in their favor. “We are extremely disappointed in that result but are very, very confident in the ultimate outcome of this case,” Kenner told reporters, adding: “If we do move to a sentencing hearing, I remain very confident we will certainly appeal this case. This is not over.” No sentencing date was set.
The failed conspiracy to influence the US government, which Michel was found guilty of, reached the highest levels of the US government. The guilty verdict has sent shockwaves across the country, and many are questioning the extent to which foreign governments have influenced US politics in recent years.
Source: Today News Africa