Fugees rapper Pras Michel, who was convicted in April for taking part in an extensive conspiracy to help a foreign national make illegal contributions to former President Barack Obama's campaign, after making approximately $88 million in foreign funds as part of a back-channel lobbying scheme at the direction of the People's Republic of China.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Michel conspired with wealthy Malaysian businessman Jho Low and several others to engage in undisclosed lobbying campaigns at the direction of Low and the Vice Minister of Public Security for the People’s Republic of China, the Justice Department said. A federal grand jury found Michel guilty of using his celebrity status and access to influence U.S. government officials on behalf of undisclosed foreign interests. -Fox News
On Monday of last week, Michel demanded a new trial, arguing that his former defense attorney David Kenner "used an experimental AI program to write his closing argument, which made frivolous arguments, conflated the schemes and failed to highlight key weaknesses in the Government’s case."
Kenner allegedly "then publicly boasted that the AI program ‘turned hours or days of legal work into seconds."
Michel's new defense team from DC-based ArentFox Schiff wrote "It is now apparent that Kenner and his co-counsel appear to have had an undisclosed financial stake in the AI program, and they experimented with it during Michel’s trial so they could issue a press release afterward promoting the program — a clear conflict of interest."
In a declaration accompanying the motion, former federal prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg noted how "Michel’s prior publicist also informed members of the current defense team that Kenner proudly stated at the end of the trial words to the effect of ‘AI wrote our closing.’" Zeidenberg cited a press release published by a firm called Eyelevel in May that claimed its AI litigation assistance technology "made history" in "becoming the first use of generative AI in a federal trial." -Fox News
"The case involved Pras Michel, a former member of the hip-hop band The Fugees, who was on trial for international fraud charges," reads the press release, which omits the fact that he'd been convicted on all ten felony charges after the jury took three days to deliberate.
As Fox News further notes, Michel's trial involved testimony from high-profile witnesses, including Leonardo DiCaprio, and former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
According to the new legal team, Kenner (the old attorney) described the AI tech as "an absolute game changer for complex litigation."