Pras Michel, a member of the 1990s hip-hop group Fugees, is attempting to force former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump to testify at his upcoming campaign finance trial, Politico reported Tuesday.
“We’re planning on calling former President Trump and former President Obama,” Michel’s defense attorney, David Kenner, said during a conference at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. “These subpoenas are going out for service today.”
Kenner reportedly did not elaborate on what testimony either man would be able to provide, but claimed, “I believe it’s all relevant.”
Michel, a rapper who started Fugees in the early 1990s alongside Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean, was indicted in 2019 on charges of conspiring with a Malaysian businessman to defraud the U.S. government and making foreign campaign contributions.
A copy of the indictment obtained by The New York Times accuses the businessman, Jho Low, of illegally transferring $21 million to Michel in 2012, which Michel allegedly contributed a portion of to Obama’s re-election campaign.
Per Politico, an additional indictment filed in 2022 also linked the campaign donations to efforts aimed at stopping a Justice Department investigation into Malaysian funds. These efforts allegedly occurred during both the Obama and Trump administrations.
Despite the planned subpoenas, Justice Department attorney John Keller said in court, “The government is not intending to call any former presidents.” The judge in the case also expressed concern that subpoenas of the former presidents could delay the trial unnecessarily.
As Insider reported, “Michel’s upcoming trial presents just the latest test for the Justice Department in its recent crackdown on covert foreign influence.