WASHINGTON (AP) — Pras Michel, a rapper and producer best known as a member of the 1990s hip-hop group The Fugees, was convicted Wednesday of 10 felony counts in a sweep by federal prosecutors.
Michel had been charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for China, conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Michel told jurors during his trial that he accepted around $20 million in 2012 from a Malaysian businessman who wanted to take a photo with President Barack Obama, but that the large amounts were never intended as illegal contributions to foreign campaigns or as payment for Michel’s services.
He also told jurors that he gave about $800,000 to friends so they could donate on his behalf and gain access to exclusive $40,000-per-seat Obama fundraisers in Miami and Washington, DC, but reiterated his belief that the money was his to spend.
Michel’s lawyer, David Kenner, spoke briefly to reporters after the verdict and confirmed that they will appeal. Michel did not speak to the press.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.