June 16, 2024

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Fugees Pras Michel Testifies in His Federal Conspiracy Trial – Rolling Stone

Fugees Pras Michel Testifies in His Federal Conspiracy Trial – Rolling Stone

The Fugees’ Brass Michel discussed his relationship with Malaysian financier Jho Low and said he served as an unofficial FBI informant regarding China’s efforts to extradite a high-profile dissident after making the bold decision to testify at his federal trial on Tuesday, April 18.

It’s rare for defendants to take a stand in their own trials, but Michel reportedly told the judge he chose to do so “after consulting with my Walcon attorneys” (per Mother Jones On reporter Dan Friedman Twitter).

Michelle pleaded not guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and falsifying records. The charges are linked to Low’s alleged exploits, with the financier accused of stealing $4.5 billion from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. (Low is named as a defendant in the case but is currently a fugitive.)

Prosecutors allege that Michel siphoned off millions in aid of low-level foreign influence campaigns against the US government during the Obama and Trump administrations. like Rolling Stone Outlined in a recent article, Michelle is accused of funneling money from Low to Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, as well as pressuring the Donald Trump administration to drop the investigation into Low and extradite Chinese billionaire dissident Guo Wengui.

Michel always says he maintains his innocence Rolling Stone“What good will I get from trying to break the laws? It’s not worth it to me. I’m an outcast now. I have friends who won’t talk to me because they think there’s a satellite in orbit that’s listening to them.”

like bloomberg In the reports, Michelle told jurors that he acted as a “celebrity surrogate” for Low, saying the financier paid him $20 million to help him get a photo shoot with Obama in 2012. According to Michelle, Low could use his money to collect all the luxuries he wanted, but his reputation as a boy My party made it a “very hot” political fundraiser.

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“They didn’t want optics back then,” Michel said. “At that point, Jho Low was a party guy — Vegas, champagne, parties with Paris Hilton. The campaign just didn’t want that.”

This is where Michelle – who met Low in 2006 at a nightclub – came in. Michel said he “basically asked for $1 million to start thinking about how” to get that long-awaited photo op with Obama. That price ballooned to $20 million over nine months, with Low eventually securing the photo at the White House Christmas party.

Michelle, however, insisted that he had not made any political donations on Law’s behalf. For example, he claimed that when he paid three Haitian friends to attend an Obama fundraiser worth $40,000 per painting in June 2012, he used his own money (per Katie Buehler of Law360). Michel also said he had his activities managed by his lawyers and accountants to make sure everything he did was up to par.

Later in his testimony, Michel addressed his alleged efforts to get the US to extradite Gu, a billionaire Chinese dissident (and close associate of Steve Bannon). Besides denying that he acted as an agent for China in the matter, Michel said he voluntarily met with FBI agents on multiple occasions to discuss Guo and three Americans being held hostage in China.

“I took it upon myself to report because I thought the FBI should know,” Michel said.

As Michel discussed previously with Rolling StoneHe met Lu at a time when he was eager to get into politics, seeing it as “a way to try to help people.” Unsurprisingly, however, this perspective is muddled.

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“I was one of those people who were playing sports. I never thought I’d be in politics full time. I realized politics wasn’t for me. The problem with politics is that people inside politics are dirtier than people who aren’t in politics.”

This story develops…