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The Federal Trial For Pras, Who Is Accused Being An Agent For China, Begins This Week

Pras is having an eventful and stressful week. Jury selection in his federal trial has begun. The Fugees member is readying his defense to prove his innocence after finding himself in a financial scandal. 

According to several news reports, Pras Michél is being accused of conspiracy and failing to register as an agent for China. 

The federal government maintains that Pras made donations to groups who backed Barack Obama during his 2012 presidency, yet he failed to disclose that donations came from Jho Low, a Malaysian millionaire, according to NPR. The outlet also reported Low shelled out upwards of $21 million to Pras for groups supporting Obama. 

In a lengthy report by Bloomberg, Jason Leopold, Matthew Campbell, and Anthony Cormier wrote, Low was a globe-trotting financier whose lavish spending would put him on familiar terms with dozens of A-list entertainers. But by 2016, US investigators believed he’d masterminded the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, blowing much of it on artwork, real estate and gifts for celebrity friends including Leonardo DiCaprio and Kim Kardashian. Few were as close to Low as Michél: Prosecutors seized $95 million that they alleged originated with Low from Michél’s accounts.” 

Bloomberg added, “The records show how Michél, at Low’s request, helped assemble a team of Republican influencers—including fundraiser Elliott Broidy, businesswoman Nickie Lum Davis and casino magnate Steve Wynn—capable of reaching the highest levels of the Trump administration as it took hold of the US government. Soon, all would be targeted by agents from the FBI’s international corruption division as well as federal prosecutors from Honolulu to New York.” 

NPR also reported that Pras acted on advice from lawyers, and believed he was acting “in the interests of the United States.” 

“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,” David Kenner and Charles Haskell, defense attorneys, wrote in court papers, according to NPR.

Earlier this year, the MC sat with Rolling Stone to discuss his legal plight. 

“I used to think getting into politics was a way to try to help people,” Pras said. “When you think about it, what the fuck do I really need to be in politics for? There’s no reason — my life is great — if it’s not to try to help people.”

He added: “I was one of those people who was just dabbling. I never thought I would be full-time into politics. I realized politics is not for me. The problem with politics is this: It’s that the people within politics, they’re dirtier than the people who are not in politics.”

If found guilty, Pras could face up to 22 years in prison.