Updated as of 10/18/22 at 10:23am E.T: Representatives of David Kenner, the lawyer who is defending Pras Michel in his upcoming trial, shared Michel’s witness list with The Root. Of the 23 people named who may have to testify, two are former presidents: Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Read the entire list below:
- Bekkedam, Barry – former financial advisor to Mr. Michel
- Broidy, Elliott – Political consultant, former Chair of RNC Finance Committee
- Carson, Ben – former Secretary of Housing and Urban development
- Gouzer, Loic– an official at Christie’s auction house
- Higginbotham, Azadeh – Wife of George Higginbotham
- Higginbotham, George – former legal counsel to Mr. Michel
- Hilliard, Erica – Assistant to Elliot Broidy at Broidy Capital
- Johnson, Jeh – former head of Homeland Security
- Kelley, John– former POTUS Chief of Staff
- Lidsky, Harry – FBI Investigator
- Lum-Davis, Nicki
- Malone, Rich – Financial expert for Defense
- Moscowitz, Marc– former financial advisor to Mr. Michel
- Obama, Barack – Former President
- Richardson, Neville – producer director former financial advisor of Mr. Michel
- Ross, Helene – office manager to Bekkadem’s consulting company (FCBOC)
- Rousseau, Joel– promoter and friend of Mr. Michel
- Sessions, Jeff – Former U.S. Attorney General
- Trump, Donald – Former President
- Wengei, Guo – PRC dissident
- White, Frank – Former Presidential Fundraiser
- Wynn, Steve – Hotel and Casino owner
- Zitman, Andrew – Supervisory FBI Special Agent
On November 4th, Fugees member Pras Michel is set to go to trial. The Root has previously reported that the artist is facing federal money laundering charges. Michel has pleaded not guilty. According to Politico’s Playbook, over seventy people are being prepped as tentative government witnesses.
The list includes numerous Trump officials as well as actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Apparently, his 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street” was partially funded by money that prosecutors claim was looted from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. Back in 2019, Michel pleaded not guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and falsifying records.
The Justice Department believes Michel was one of the many affiliates of Jho Low and 1MDB, a wealth fund that championed economic development in Malaysia. Low is being accused of stealing from the “slush fund” valued at $4.5 billion.
Allegedly, Michel received somewhere in between $8-$40 million for helping Low. That same year, DiCaprio provided secret testimony to a Washington, D.C. grand jury about the supposed role he played in the scheme. He was labeled a witness to an alleged conspiracy that used money from the 1MDB fund to finance The Wolf of Wall Street through its connections to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
The Trump officials that are also possible witnesses include former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, former White House chief of staff John Kelly and former deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger. The former RNC deputy finance chair and lobbyist Elliott Broidy is also a tentative witness.
In 2020, he pleaded guilty to serving as an unregistered foreign agent aiding Malaysian and Chinese interests. Broidy was charged in the federal investigation regarding 1MDB but Trump pardoned him in 2021.