Pras Michel Demands Retrial, Claims Attorney Used AI-Generated Closing Argument
Convicted Fugees rapper Prakazrel “Pras” Michel is seeking a new trial due to the AI-generated closing statement his former lawyer made in his high-profile federal case.
A newly filed brief accuses Michel’s previous lawyer, David Kenner, of using an AI program to draft his closing argument in the rapper’s criminal trial last spring, Reuters reports. Now under the counsel of ArentFox Schiff, Michel is demanding a retrial on the grounds his conviction was the result of Kenner’s flop closing statement.
“Kenner’s closing argument made frivolous arguments, misapprehended the required elements, conflated the schemes and ignored critical weaknesses in the government’s case,” the brief states.
By using the failed AI-generated statement, Kenner is accused of ruining “the single most important portion” of Michel’s jury trial. The new filing comes after Michel’s conviction in April on federal charges of conspiring with fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low in three alleged lobbying attempts to influence two different U.S. presidential administrations.
The high-profile politically charged case included testimony from Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Michel’s new legal defense believes the “Ready Or Not” rapper received inadequate representation from Kenner in part due to his closing arguments generated by the AI program EyeLevel.AI.
“The AI program failed Kenner, and Kenner failed Michel,” the brief said. “The closing argument was deficient, unhelpful and a missed opportunity that prejudiced the defense.”
It’s also believed that Kenner and his co-counsel Alon Israely might “appear to have had” an undisclosed financial interest in the company CaseFile Connect, which served as a “technology partner” to EyeLevel.AI. Kenner and Israely are accused of possibly using the trial to advance their own financial interests.
In addition to testimony from Michel’s publicist who claims Kenner revealed his use of AI in drafting the closing statement, ArentFox also found a May 10 press release issued by EyeLevel.AI that hailed Michel’s case as “the first use of generative AI in a federal trial.”
The press release included a quote from Kenner, who praised the AI program for how it “turned hours or days of legal work into seconds.” Kenner also said the program serves as “a look into the future of how cases will be conducted.”