Pras Michel Conspiracy Trial Begins

The Fugees member faces charges like conspiracy and witness tampering, and could be in prison for up to 22 years.

BYGabriel Bras Nevares

The trial involving Pras Michel began on Monday (March 27) in Washington D.C., more specifically its jury selection. Moreover, according to an NPR report, the Fugees member faces various charges such conspiracy, witness tampering, and failing to register as an agent of China. For those unaware, an investigation into potential embezzlement of millions to help Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign found Pras at the center around December of 2018. Since then, he faced other legal woes for failing to pay child support, but a broader federal case is now underway.

Furthermore, his legal troubles actually caused the cancellation of the Fugees' reunion tour back in August of 2022. To elaborate on the charges, apparently the New Jersey native schemed to reimburse attendees of an Obama campaign fundraiser for $40,000 using foreign investment for ticket costs. In addition, authorities accused him of threatening those who would report such a plot to officials. Not only that, but he also allegedly helped Malaysian billionaire Jho Low through a secret lobbying campaign. This was to pressure U.S. justice and White House officials into dismissing the existing fraud scheme.

Pras Michel's Trial For Conspiracy Begins Jury Selection Process

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13: Pras is seen on December 13, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by SMXRF/Star Max/GC Images)

Also, the court accused him of aiding the Chinese government "secure the return" of a dissident residing in the States and developing close ties to Steve Bannon and the Trump administration. Since Low is reportedly living in China as a fugitive, the 50-year-old MC faces these charges alone. According to his legal team, Pras acted in good faith and in the interests of the U.S. when meeting with a Chinese minister in 2017. While federal authorities reportedly offered Pras a plea deal, he then rejected it and went on to plead not guilty to these crimes.

"Defendant continues to deny he was acting as an agent for China and denies he willfully and knowingly acted as a secret agent under the direction and control of China when he approached the FBI," defense lawyers stated this month in court documents. Meanwhile, if convicted on all charges, Michel could land in prison for 22 years. For the latest updates on Pras and his legal case, check back in with HNHH.

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About The Author
Gabriel Bras Nevares is a music and pop culture news writer for HotNewHipHop. He started in 2022 as a weekend writer and, since joining the team full-time, has developed a strong knowledge in hip-hop news and releases. Whether it’s regular coverage or occasional interviews and album reviews, he continues to search for the most relevant news for his audience and find the best new releases in the genre. What excites him the most is finding pop culture stories of interest, as well as a deeper passion for the art form of hip-hop and its contemporary output. Specifically, Gabriel enjoys the fringes of rap music: the experimental, boundary-pushing, and raw alternatives to the mainstream sound. As a proud native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he also stays up-to-date with the archipelago’s local scene and its biggest musical exponents in reggaetón, salsa, indie, and beyond. Before working at HotNewHipHop, Gabriel produced multiple short documentaries, artist interviews, venue spotlights, and audio podcasts on a variety of genres and musical figures. Hardcore punk and Go-go music defined much of his coverage during his time at the George Washington University in D.C. His favorite hip-hop artists working today are Tyler, The Creator, Boldy James, JPEGMAFIA, and Earl Sweatshirt.