EW.com, By Lester Fabian Brathwaite, Posted May 4th 2023
The former Fugee’s trial has come to a close after testimony from high-profile witnesses like Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeff Sessions!
Guilty superstar, that’s what Pras… is.
Michel was accused of funneling money from fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low through straw donors to Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, trying to impede an investigation into Low’s money laundering scam, and trying to persuade the U.S. to extradite a Chinese dissident.
Pretty intense stuff but perhaps not too entirely shocking for someone who once rapped, “Black Caesar, dating top divas / Diplomatic legalese, no time for a Visa.”
Michel met Low in 2006, when the Malaysian playboy was throwing cash and his weight around. Michel helped open some doors, which led to Low providing financing for Hollywood films including The Wolf of Wall Street, which dragged star Leonardo DiCaprio into the trial.
DiCaprio testified that Low was interested in donating to the Obama 2012 campaign. However, it seems Low was most interested in getting a photo with the then-incumbent president.
Michel, testifying on his own behalf, said he “basically asked for $1 million to begin to think about how” he would get Low his coveted Obama picture. That price eventually soared to $20 million, but Low got his wish at a White House Christmas party.
Low’s money, however, was stolen from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund, to the tune of $4.5 billion, which explains why Low has been on the lam for years and didn’t turn up for Michel’s trial.
Prosecutors claim Michel was donating money on Low’s behalf and in turn trying to silence straw donors using burner phones. After the election of Donald Trump, Michel was accused of taking millions to attempt to deter an investigation into Low as well as trying to persuade the US to extradite billionaire Guo Wengui on China’s behalf.
Michel maintains his innocence, insisting he never made any political donations on Low’s behalf, and that he voluntarily met with the FBI to discuss Guo and three American hostages in China.
“I took it upon myself to report because I thought the FBI should know,” Michel said.
Former attorney general Jeff Sessions, who also testified in this trial, said Michel’s futile efforts at diplomatic legalese didn’t seem improper.