On Monday, January 29, 2024, the Los Angeles Magazine reported that prominent Los Angeles attorney David Kenner pleaded guilty to criminal contempt charges related to leaking confidential grand jury documents about his Grammy-winning client, Prakazrel “Pras” Michel.

Kenner, 82, has had a decades-long career representing several high-profile rappers and musicians. He is best known for securing acquittals for Snoop Dogg and his bodyguard in a 1996 murder trial. Kenner has also represented Death Row Records founder Suge Knight and rapper Tory Lanez in previous criminal cases.

However, Kenner now found himself on the other side as the defendant. He admitted to violating a protective court order by sharing details from Pras Michel’s grand jury proceedings with reporters. Michel, a member of the famous 90s hip-hop group The Fugees, was convicted last year on various charges related to an international campaign finance conspiracy.

As Michel’s attorney during his high-profile Washington D.C. trial, Kenner is now accused by his former client of lacking experience handling a complex white-collar criminal matter. Michel claims Kenner did not properly disclose using artificial intelligence software to draft closing arguments, which Michel argues were damaging to his defense.

Kenner’s guilty plea and Michel’s allegations have led to the rapper requesting a new trial. If granted, it could overturn Michel’s convictions from last April, where he was found guilty on all ten counts, including conspiring to defraud the U.S. and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

The underlying criminal case centers around Malaysian fugitive and billionaire party boy Jho Low illegally funneling over $100 million to Michel, who in turn allegedly tried to convince officials in the Obama and Trump administrations to take certain actions beneficial to Low and China. Low remains on the run from U.S. and Asian authorities for his role in the sprawling 1MDB financial scandal.

With new accusations against his original high-profile counsel and the possibility of a retrial, Michel’s legal saga remains highly complicated with significant ramifications still looming. The future course of this complex case, with its political and international intrigue, will likely continue drawing public interest.



Source: Los Angeles Magazine