Back in April, the Fugees rapper, Pras Michel, faced conviction on conspiracy charges related to a money laundering scheme on behalf of Malaysian billionaire Jho Low, a fugitive. Now, in a surprising twist, Pras is pursuing a new trial, alleging that his defense attorney employed artificial intelligence (AI) during closing arguments in his case, which involved a $100 million foreign extortion plot. This development adds another layer of intrigue to the already convoluted narrative surrounding this Grammy-winning artist.
Pras Michel was found guilty on ten counts in April, including conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign government agent. These charges stem from his involvement in a complex plot, which also involved figures like Leonardo DiCaprio, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Pras Michel, who profited approximately $88 million from the scheme, now faces the possibility of a 20-year prison sentence.
The unexpected twist in this legal saga involves the rapper’s allegations against his defense attorney, David Kenner, known for his previous representation of figures like Snoop Dogg and Suge Knight. Michel’s new defense team has asserted that Kenner used an “experimental” AI program to draft the closing argument for the trial. Even more alarming, they claim that Kenner had a financial interest in this AI program called “EyeLevel” and was quoted in a press release promoting the technology.
In the filing for a new trial, Pras Michel’s legal team has criticized his former attorney for “ineffective representation.” They argue that Kenner outsourced critical trial preparations to inexperienced contract attorneys employed by an e-discovery vendor. Additionally, Kenner allegedly failed to familiarize himself with relevant statutes involving the Foreign Agents Registration Act and money laundering, and he did not object to damaging and inadmissible testimony presented during the trial.
Moreover, the most striking accusation is Kenner’s use of AI in the trial proceedings. Pras Michel’s new legal team asserts that Kenner employed an AI program to draft the closing argument, but rather than enhancing the defense, the AI program apparently “ignored the best arguments and conflated the charged schemes.” What’s more, Kenner publicly boasted that this AI program “turned hours or days of legal work into seconds,” leaving a clear imprint of AI involvement in the trial.
Furthermore, the new legal team highlights that Kenner and his co-counsel had “an undisclosed financial stake” in the AI program, suggesting that their experimentation with the technology during Michel’s trial was potentially motivated by a desire to issue a press release promoting the program. Such a conflict of interest raises serious concerns about the fairness and integrity of the legal proceedings. In light of these allegations, Pras Michel’s quest for a new trial is poised to intensify the already complex legal battle, putting AI technology and its implications for legal representation in the spotlight.
Derek Chan – Editor