Rapper Brass Michel, a former member of the Fugees, has been found guilty of participating in a scheme to help China influence the United States.
(CNN) – Rapper Brass Michel was convicted in a Washington court on Wednesday of 10 counts of international conspiracy that reached the highest levels of the US government.
The Grammy award-winning artist and former member of the Fugees has been facing multiple charges in a failed plot to help Malaysian businessman Jho Low and the Chinese government gain access to US officials, including former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Michelle was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States, of witness tampering and of acting as an unregistered agent for a foreign government. He faces up to 20 years in prison. However, no date has been set for the verdict.
Michel sat stoic when he heard the verdict on each charge on Wednesday and made no comment to reporters outside the courtroom.
His lawyer, David Keener, expressed disappointment with the decision, but said he was confident his motions to nullify the trial would be successful.
“We are very disappointed with this outcome, but we are very confident in the final outcome of this case,” Keener told reporters. He added, “If we go to sentencing, I am very confident we will appeal this case. This is not over yet.”
Michel testified last week that Lou paid him $20 million in 2012 for a photo of him with Obama. Prosecutors alleged that Michel diverted more than $800,000 of that money to the Obama campaign, through a series of donors.
In his defense, Michel testified that he had never used the money in Low’s direction, but considered it his money, which he could spend however he liked.
“I could have bought 12 elephants with it,” he told the jury.
When Trump came to power in 2017 and investigations into Low and his alleged role in embezzling billions of dollars from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund 1MBD, Low turned to Michelle again, prosecutors said.
They said Low sent more than $100 million to Michelle to help him pressure the government, including Trump, to drop the investigation against Low. Prosecutors also say Michel called for the extradition of the Chinese dissident, Guo Wengui, on behalf of the Chinese government.
However, Michel stated that he only tried to help Low find a lawyer in the United States and only told the authorities about Guo because he thought he was a criminal. The former Fugees member also stated that $100 million was for a media company he had started and that the investment did not come from Low.
Lu, who shared the accusation with Michel, is believed to be in China. The Department of Justice arrested Guo and charged him with defrauding investors in an unrelated case.
CNN’s Devan Kaul contributed to this report.
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