Prakazrel Michel, aka Pras of the Fugees, is set to go on trial next year for criminal conspiracy and campaign finance charges; the trial is set to begin March 27, 2023. In 2019, Michel was charged alongside Low Taek Jho (aka “Jho Low”), a Malaysian national who is still at large, and for whom Michel is accused of funneling money to political campaigns and making false statements in connection to the conspiracy.
Politico reports that actor Leonardo DiCaprio is among the list of potential witnesses; Jho Low, a Hollywood fixture known for lavish parties and his brief relationship with the model Miranda Kerr, has said he helped finance DiCaprio’s film The Wolf of Wall Street. Jho Low is wanted internationally in connection with his role in the 1MDB scandal, in which billions of dollars were embezzled from the state-owned sovereign investment fund he co-founded with Malaysia’s then-Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The charges against Michel include one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States government and making foreign and conduit campaign contributions, one count of concealing material facts, and two counts of making a false entry in a record in connection with the conspiracy.
Prosecutors allege Michel received approximately $100 million from Jho Low to influence American politics, at first with illegal political contributions into political committees supporting the reelection of former President Barack Obama in 2012, and later in an attempt to influence former President Donald Trump and his administration to end a civil and criminal investigation into Jho Low by the Department of Justice. Michel is also alleged to have attempted to influence the Trump administration on behalf of the Chinese government to remove a Chinese dissident from the United States and send him back to China.
Michel and Jho Low’s trial was set to begin next month, but a motion to continue was granted due to an unrelated injury sustained by his attorney.