Pras Suffers Another Legal Defeat But Still Has Hope For New Trial


Pras was convicted of conspiracy and witness tampering, among other charges, for his role in an illegal foreign influence scheme.

A judge denied Pras Michel’s motion for acquittal in his political conspiracy case on Friday (April 12). The Fugees member claimed prosecutors presented insufficient evidence to convict him, but Judge Collen Kollar-Kotelly disagreed.

“After a five-week trial, a jury convicted Michel of 10 counts,” the judge wrote. “The Court has thoroughly reviewed the extensive evidence presented at trial and finds the evidence sufficient to withstand a motion for judgment of acquittal under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29. Accordingly, Michel’s Motion for Judgment of Acquittal is denied.”

Pras was convicted of conspiracy, concealment of material facts, making false entries in records, serving as an unregistered agent of a foreign power and witness tampering in 2023. A jury found him guilty of participating in a conspiracy involving millions of dollars in foreign funds, which were used for illegal back-channel lobbying and unlawful campaign donations.

Prosecutors said Pras conspired with Malaysian businessman Jho Low to influence two presidential administrations illegally. Pras received $100 million for his efforts.

Pras believed he at least deserved a new trial if the judge refused to throw out his convictions. Judge Collen Kollar-Kotelly rejected his argument.

“Michel offers a blanket statement that the verdicts were against the weight of the evidence,” the judge wrote. “Michel presents no additional arguments—only directing the Court to review his previous arguments for judgment of acquittal—for the Court’s consideration … Based on the Court’s review of the evidence and trial transcripts, as well as presiding over the trial itself, the Court cannot conclude that a “serious miscarriage of justice may have occurred.’”

The judge added, “The jury was presented with significant evidence demonstrating Michel’s culpability for the charged offenses. The collective evidence is strong enough to satisfy the Court that the verdicts do not represent a miscarriage of justice. As such, Michel’s request for a new trial on this basis is denied.”

Pras maintained some hope for a new trial. His motion regarding ineffective assistance of counsel is still pending.

The rapper’s former lawyer David Kenner pleaded guilty to leaking information about the case to reporters in January. A spokesperson for Pras said Kenner “failed at every turn to competently represent Pras over the course of this lengthy legal battle.”