A founding member of the hip-hop group The Fugees has requested a new trial for a foreign influence scheme after arguing in part that his attorney used artificial intelligence software to craft a “frivolous and ineffective” closing argument.
In April, rapper Prakazril Michel was convicted in federal court of organizing an illegal international conspiracy in which he received millions of dollars from Jho Low, a Malaysian financier who was seeking political influence in the United States. Mr. Michel, known as Brass, was convicted of 10 criminal charges including money laundering and witness tampering. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
In a motion for a new trial this week, Mr. Michel’s new legal team said the lawyers who defended him during the trial in US District Court in Washington were “deficient throughout.” They singled out the lead attorney, David E. Kenner, saying he misunderstood the facts of the case and ignored “critical weaknesses” in federal prosecutors’ arguments, and that he used experimental artificial intelligence software to create a closing argument that made “frivolous claims.”
Mr. Michel’s lawyers, too books That Mr. Keener and another lawyer, Alon Israeli, “appear to have an undisclosed financial interest” in the EyeLevel.AI software. Motion moved a New release From EyeLevel, which mentioned a partner company, CaseFile Connect, whose website lists the same Los Angeles address as Mr. Keener’s law firm.
Mr. Keener did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday. Neither Mr. Israeli nor CaseFile Connect could be reached for comment.
Neil Katz, founder and chief operating officer of EyeLevel.AI, said Thursday that it was “absolutely untrue” that the trial lawyers had an undisclosed financial interest in the company. He added that neither CaseFile Connect nor the lawyers at Mr. Keener’s firm have a financial stake in his company.
Regarding the role his company’s software played in the case, Mr. Katz said it only allowed lawyers to conduct real-time research and analysis based on trial transcripts.
“The idea here is not to take what the computer outputs and bring it into the courtroom and put it on the record,” he said. “That’s not what happened here.”
“Human lawyers see this as an important input that helps them get to ideas faster,” he added. “They ultimately write the legal arguments they make in court.”
The proposal also targeted the Ministry of Justice and the Federal Court itself. She said government prosecutors had used it incorrectly FBI agent At trial, “usurping the role of the jury and influencing the jury’s verdict.” She added that the court prejudiced the jury when it ruled before them that Mr. Michel conspired with others in the foreign influence scheme.
The Justice Department declined to comment on Thursday. The US District Court for the District of Columbia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Erica Dumas, Mr. Michel’s publicist, said in a brief statement that his new legal team had identified areas of the case “where justice may not have been properly served.”
“After careful examination of the facts and circumstances surrounding Bras Michel’s previous trial, it became clear that there were inconsistencies and errors in the case,” she said. She did not elaborate and declined to comment further.
It was not clear whether this proposal would be accepted.