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Former Rapper Pras Michel Goes On Trial For Conspiracy Charges In Washington, D.C.

Pras Michel is at the center of an explosive federal conspiracy trial unfolding in Washington in connection to an alleged Malaysian embezzler who wanted a photo with former President Barack Obama. The Fugees rapper took the stand this week and claimed that he became an informant for the FBI after his dealings with Low Taek, also known as Jho Low, began to head into murky territory.

Pras Michel, 50, was inside the U.S. District Court in Washington on Tuesday (April 18) when he took the stand in the conspiracy trial where he faces charges of money laundering, campaign finance violations, and other related charges in what authorities say was a sham to cover the $4.5 billion Low, 41, allegedly stole from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund.

The most detailed accounts of Michel’s testimony came by way of Katie Buehler, a reporter for Law360 who covers court cases in Washington. In a series of tweets, Buehler was able to encapsulate how bizarre it is that a former top-charting rapper is at the center of a conspiracy case with global implications.

“Ex-Fugees rapper Pras Michel has taken the witness stand and is seemingly trying to charm the jury. Before answering any questions, he conducted a microphone check, saying, “Mic check 1, 2” twice. He also said “bless you” after an observer in the courtroom sneezed,” read the first tweet of a thread that broke down Michel’s testimony.

It was followed with, “Michel, who is accused of conspiring to funnel foreign money into and assert influence over American politics, explained he grew up in a strict, religious household and that his fame with the Fugees saw him go “from being on the streets of New York to Park Avenue overnight.”

Michel said he first met Low in 2006 in a New York nightclub where the businessman displayed reckless spending and exceptional wealth adding in his testimony that Low’s actions were, “something I’ve never witnessed in my life.”

Low essentially employed Michel to arrange the photo opportunity with President Obama by way of an Obama fundraising official who has decided not to testify by invoking his Fifth Amendment rights despite not facing charges.

According to Michel, he pocketed around $12 million and used $2 million of the cash Low gave him to attend an Obama fundraiser and somehow make the photo happen. The fundraising official instructed Michel to keep Low away from the fundraiser and then received another $20 million from Low for a chance at the photo.

The thread from the reporter ends with Michel saying he met with federal agents in New York in connection to Guo Wengui, a Chinese businessman arrested on money laundering, fraud, and other charges that China wanted to be extradited.

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

Read the entire thread below.

Photo: Tasos Katopodis / Getty