Prakazrel “Pras” Michel claims that the usage of artificial intelligence (AI) caused him to not have a fair shot in court.
In April 2023, the Fugees rapper went on trial after being accused of “conspiring to make and conceal foreign campaign contributions and witness tampering,” as previously shared by AFROTECH. Among the accusations, he allegedly accepted millions of dollars from Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman and fugitive who allegedly stole more than $4 billion in an international fraud scheme. Michel attempted to cover up his payments by reportedly using straw donors to contribute the money to former President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
Now, on Oct.16, Michel has requested a new trial due to his claim that his former lawyer David Kenner utilized EyeLevel.AI, Billboard reports. Filed in Washington, D.C. federal court, he says that Kenner used the “experimental artificial intelligence program” for his closing arguments during the trial, which Michel believes led to him being convicted on multiple charges. In addition, the rapper claims that Kenner has an “undisclosed financial stake” in EyeLevel.AI.
Michel also expressed in the filing that he was “utterly failed” by Kenner and that the criminal defense attorney “failed to object to damaging and inadmissible testimony” during his trial in April. Michel’s current legal team is backing his AI claims, per the outlet.
“Michel never had a chance,” his new lawyers from the firm ArentFox Schiff wrote, according to Billboard. “Michel’s counsel was deficient throughout, likely more focused on promoting his AI program…than zealously defending Michel. The net effect was an unreliable verdict.”
They added, “At bottom, the AI program failed Kenner, and Kenner failed Michel. The closing argument was deficient, unhelpful, and a missed opportunity that prejudiced the defense.”
Billboard details that Neil Katz, the founder of EyeLevel.AI, came forward to deny Michel’s claims regarding his platform and Kenner’s alleged intentions in using the technology. “Neither Kenner Law nor its associates have a financial stake in EyeLevel,” Katz shared in a statement.
As for Kenner, he didn’t share a comment with the outlet.