Former Fugees rapper Pras Michel posted a cryptic photo to his Instagram Stories this week after reports that his legal team requested a new trial for the convicted rapper.
In the social post, Pras captioned the photo, “Grateful,” which is an understandable sentiment when you take into account what Pras has been going through for the past few months.
His lawyers recently requested a new trial after they accused his ex-attorney of using a generative AI program to craft closing arguments in a trial that Pras lost.
In April, Michel (commonly known simply as Pras) was found guilty of 10 counts related to a major conspiracy plot against the U.S. government in a federal court in Washington, D.C.
Michel faced multiple counts over the failed plan to help Malaysian businessman Jho Low and the Chinese government gain access to high-profile U.S. officials, including former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
During the trial, Pras testified that he voluntarily met with FBI agents on multiple occasions about Americans being held hostage in China. Pras was deemed an informant after acknowledging the meetings, but his team insisted that he was never an official informant.
According to Insider, Michel’s first attorney, David Kenner, who is known for representing Suge Knight and Tupac Shakur, allegedly mishandled his case by using an “experimental artificial intelligence program” to draft his closing arguments.
Following his guilty verdict, Pras hired ArentFox Schiff LLP as his new counsel.
In a filing reported by Insider, lawyers alleged that Kenner used a program called EyeLevel.AI, and was “ignoring the best arguments and conflating the charged schemes.”
“Michel never had a chance,” the ArentFox Schiff team wrote. “Michel’s legal defense was deficient throughout.”
Pras’ lawyers also argued that Kenner and his co-counsel had an undisclosed financial stake in the AI company, although EyeLevel.AI has refuted those claims.
“Neither Kenner Law nor its associates have a financial stake in EyeLevel as claimed in the filing. They were happy with our AI’s capabilities and provided a quote for a press release,” EyeLevel.AI told The Daily Beast.
ArentFox Schiff also alleged that Kenner provided inadequate defense for Michel, claiming Kenner was experienced in white-collar crimes, outsourcing trial preparations and strategy to other companies.
Sentencing in the case has not yet been set, but Pras could face up to 20 years in prison.
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