Pras Michél, who rose to fame in the '90s as a member of The Fugees, has been convicted on 10 counts related to a scheme to buy influence for the Chinese government and business interest in the U.S.
The verdict, reported by CNN on Wednesday, comes after months of speculation about how serious the charges might be that relate to money laundering and illegal campaign contributions that reach all the way up to money donated on behalf of a Chinese businessman to get a photo with Barack Obama.
It doesn't get any less bonkers from there. Leonardo DiCaprio testified in the trial about his partying and business dealings with fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho (also known as Jho Low), Pras’ co-defendant who was part of a $4.5 billion fraud scheme. Pras refused plea offers and will apparently now pay the price.
In total, the man who gave us “Ghetto Supastar” was found guilty of all 10 counts in the trial. Pras had claimed he thought money given to him by Low was a gift—not a conspiracy—and that some of the money Low gave him was to invest in a business, not just to put Low in touch with celebrities and politicians. But there are darker turns in the story; Pras is accused of helping attempt to influence the Trump administration to extradite a Chinese national.
Low is still on the loose, but was nevertheless listed as a co-defendant in the trial. (It's not fun when your party partner doesn't show up and leaves you to foot the bill.)
In previous interviews, Pras tried to spin his legal troubles as if he was helping the U.S. government and playing double agent and trying to free an American citizen being held in China. But a jury didn't buy those arguments in the very complicated case, and now Pras could face decades in prison.
His lawyers say he will appeal in an attempt to, ahem, settle the score.
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