Former Fugees founding member Pras Michel stands trial in Washington, D.C., after pleading not guilty to charges of global campaign-finance conspiracy.
The jury selection began Monday surrounding the 2019 allegations, the NPR reported. The Grammy-winning rapper is accused of conspiring with fugitive Malaysian financier Jho Low to secretly divert funds to former President Barack Obama’s 2012 Presidential campaign, the LA Times reported.
He is also accused of blocking the Justice Department’s investigation into claims of embezzlement from 1MDB, a Malaysian investment fund, according to a civil complaint.
He maintains his innocence against all allegations.
“Mr. Michel is extremely disappointed that so many years after the fact, the government would bring charges related to 2012 campaign contributions,” Michael’s attorney Barry Pollack stated. “Mr. Michel is innocent of these charges and looks forward to having the case heard by a jury.”
In May 2019, the Justice Department indicted the 1990s Hip Hop artist on four counts, claiming he made efforts to make and conceal foreign campaign donations with his co-defendant Low. However, Low is not standing trial. Authorities believe he is hiding out in China.
Low is accused of transferring over $21.6 million from foreign entities into the musician’s accounts. He then allegedly distributed the funds among multiple channels and straw donors for the contribution of donations for Obama’s reelection campaign.
Authorities say he never revealed the source of these funds.