Rapper Calls for New Trial in AI-Influenced Obama Donation Case

(ReliableNews.org) – Concerns about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) have spread across many industries. A convicted rapper is now appealing his conviction for election crimes, and the use of AI is a main point of contention in his appeal.

In April, Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, 50, was convicted of orchestrating a 2017 back-channel campaign to influence then-President Donald Trump’s administration and the Department of Justice to drop charges against a wealthy Chinese businessman. He was also convicted of conspiring to make and conceal foreign donations to former President Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign. The schemes used about $88 million in foreign funds.

On October 16, Michel filed a motion in federal court asking for a new trial. He argued his former defense attorney, David Kenner, didn’t write his closing argument. Michel claims the attorney “used an experimental AI program” to do so and alleges that he didn’t highlight the weaknesses in the federal government’s case and “conflated the schemes.”

An accompanying statement from former federal prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg said Michel’s publicist told him that Kenner declared “AI wrote our closing” when the trial was over. A firm called Eyelevel bragged that its AI technology made history by using AI for the first time at a federal trial. According to the motion, Kenner bragged about the program after the trial, saying it “turned hours or days of legal work into seconds.”

The Fugees rapper’s new defense team accused Kenner of having an “undisclosed financial stake” in the program. He reportedly used Michel’s trial to test it out, then promoted it afterward in a press release.

According to the legal filing, the AI program failed both Kenner and Michel. The new legal team reportedly uncovered a connection between Kenner’s law firm and CaseFile Connect, the “technology partner” for the AI program’s parent company. The two reportedly listed the same office building as their headquarters.

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