Monday marks a crucial day in the case full of accusations of political scheming and global intrigue as jury selection begins in the Grammy-winning singer Pras Michel’s trial at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.
In a case that, if found guilty, may land Michel in prison for decades, Michel is accused of conspiring, interfering with witnesses, and failing to register as a China agent. When his band the Fugees released The Score, one of the best-selling and most downloaded albums of all time, he gained international notoriety.
Pras Michel Trial’s Jury Members Are Being Selected
Yet it was only when Pras Michel, 50, sought to reinvent himself as a businessman and political force in both the United States and Haiti, the country of his parents, that he ended up in the crowded federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.
The case revolves around a billionaire called Jho Low who is accused of defrauding Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund of billions of dollars to line his coffers and win the favor of US presidents and celebrities. Michel is facing trial alone since Low is a wanted felon whose whereabouts are thought to be in China.
According to the prosecution, Pras Michel was involved in two separate sets of alleged crimes: first, an illegal scheme to recruit people to show up at a fundraiser for Barack Obama during the 2012 campaign, reimburse them for the cost of the tickets with money from foreign sources and then threaten some of them if they told the authorities. The second scheme allegedly involved a covert lobbying effort to influence American justice and White House officials if billionaire Low’s fraud scheme failed, as well as to assist the Chinese government in “securing the return” of a dissident who was residing in the U.S. and growing close ties with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.