Ex-Fugees rapper Prakazrel “Pras” Michel has been found guilty in federal court on 10 criminal counts related to a multimillion-dollar political conspiracy case.

Michel, who illegally funneled $800,000 of foreign money into Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, was found guilty on Wednesday of conspiring to help China influence the U.S. government.

Pras Michel

He is alleged to have been involved in this international conspiracy by providing Malaysian businessman Jho Low and the Chinese government with access to the highest levels of the U.S. government.

Michel was paid $20 million by Low to illegally funnel foreign wealth into the Obama campaign. About 10% of this money went towards paying friends to attend a fundraiser for Obama’s campaign that was held at the home of wealthy Democrat donor Frank White in Washington, D.C.

The alleged end goal for Low was to secure a photo with Obama, which was difficult for Michel to accomplish for the Malaysian financier because Obama’s campaign officials knew of Low’s questionable history.

While is against the law for foreign money to be used in presidential elections, Obama is not being held accountable for these donations since Low and Michel created shell companies and straw donors to donate to the presidential campaign.

His defense team argued that the former rapper had gotten bad legal advice as he tried to enter the world of politics, leading to these unintentional outcomes. Under oath, Michel claimed that he was unaware the political donation payments he made were unlawful.

“This is all about a highly valuable photo,” said Michel’s attorney David Kenner said in his closing arguments last week.  “[Michel] was trying to make money… it is not illegal.”

Michel was ultimately convicted in a Washington D.C. court of 10 criminal counts including campaign finance violations, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, witness tampering, conspiring to defraud the U.S., and lying to banks. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Kenner said he is “extremely disappointed” in the outcome and plans to appeal.

“This is not over,” he said. “I remain very, very confident we will ultimately prevail.”

No sentencing date has been set yet.

Join The Conversation. Leave a Comment.

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.