the law

Leonardo DiCaprio Testifies in Conspiracy Trial of Fugees’ Pras Michél

Last week, we were on the slopes; now we’re in D.C. Photo-Illustration: Vulture. Photos: Getty Images

The Oscar-worthy trials continue. Leonardo DiCaprio took the stand today in the trial of Pras Michél, a member of the hip-hop group Fugees. Michél is accused of not registering as an agent of a foreign government while allegedly lobbying the U.S. government for Malaysian and Chinese interests. Prosecutors allege he was part of a multimillion-dollar conspiracy involving Jho Low, a Malaysian who was close with celebrities and allegedly funneled money through Michél. How does DiCaprio fit into all this? He had been gifted a painting by Low at one point that had allegedly been bought with money Low embezzled from the fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad. DiCaprio testified that he had attended “a multitude of lavish parties” thrown by Low, who helped fund The Wolf of Wall Street with allegedly embezzled money and is still at large. DiCaprio even thanked Low when he won a Golden Globe for his role in the film.

“I understood him to be a huge businessman with many connections,” DiCaprio said in court per the BBC. “He was a prodigy in the business world.” DiCaprio said Low had bought paintings at auction for his environmentally focused nonprofit, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and donated through one of Low’s companies, according to reporter Katie Buehler. He testified that Low once expressed interest in making a “significant contribution” of $20 to $30 million to the Democratic Party ahead of the 2012 election. “I basically said ‘Wow, that’s a lot of money,’” DiCaprio said. During jury selection, attorneys named a number of celebrities as possible witnesses, including Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Scorsese. Michél, meanwhile, has denied wrongdoing through his lawyer, who said his “motivation was to try to assist the United States.”

Leonardo DiCaprio Testifies in Trial of Fugees’ Pras Michél