Rapper Pras Michél, known by many elder millennials as a member of the Fugees, claims his former lawyer mishandled his criminal conspiracy case by using AI to write closing arguments.
Michél, who was convicted by a Washington federal court in April for conspiracy to defraud the US, and his new legal team filed a motion for a new trial. First reported by Politico, the team alleges Michél’s former lawyer, David Kenner, “used an experimental AI program to write his closing argument, which made frivolous arguments, conflated the schemes, and failed to highlight the key weaknesses in the government’s case.”
They pointed to Kenner giving a quote to a press release for a company called EyeLevel.AI, which says Kenner’s use of its platform in the trial is the first use of generative AI in a federal case. Kenner says in the statement that EyeLevel’s technology was “an absolute game changer for complex litigation.” EyeLevel’s website says it helps add GPT capabilities to customer service and legal applications.
Michél’s legal team also claims Kenner outsourced trial preparations to inexperienced lawyers and did not familiarize himself with the case’s statutes.
They also accuse Kenner of having a financial interest in EyeLevel
The Verge reached out to EyeLevel for comment.
Kenner has represented other big names in music, like Snoop Dogg and Tory Lanez.
Using generative AI in the courtroom is still a gray area since no regulations prohibit lawyers from using the technology — but the technology often gives inaccurate results. Some lawyers who used ChatGPT in trial preparations were reprimanded after the chatbot invented cases for citation.
CNN reported that a Washington federal court found Michél guilty of conspiracy to defraud the US and helping Malaysian businessman Jho Low and the Chinese government gain access to US officials. Politico wrote the rapper was accused of taking around $88 million to introduce Low to Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Michél, out on bond pending sentencing, reunited with the rest of the Fugees, Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill, on October 17th during Hill’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 25th anniversary tour. Presumably, they did not talk about AI before performing “Ready or Not.”