Pras Michel Trial Opening Says Guo Was CCP Opponent At the Time, Obama Photos for Funds
More Guo Wengui / politics of the case analysis here
FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, March 29 – Pras Michel on trial on charges of working for Jho Low to lobby the Obama then Trump administrations.
The trial began in earnest on March 30 with the prosecution's opening and first witness. Inner City was there, live tweeted thread here:
OK - for US v Pras Michel, jury instructions just given, openings in minutes, judge says - but...
More delay - based on Judge's rulings, emailed last night & not apparently in the docket yet, Michel's lawyer Kenner says he might not do an opening statement. Judge urges him to take a look at the ruling & for example just not mention Frank White as a witness...
Michel's lawyer Kenner says Frank White's lawyer, when asked if his client will testify, said Don't be surprised if he takes the Fifth. So the judge does not want the jury told in openings that White will be a witness, until this is thrashed out. #HurryUpAndWait
OK - it's on - US opening. Assistant US Attorney: The defendant took money from Jho Low, and from the Chinese government, to try to convince President Trump to return to China a Chinese national. [That's Guo Wengui- now detained and prosecuted in SDNY for fraud]
AUSA: The defendant wanted money and was willing to become a paid agent of the Chinese government. He had a successful album but then wanted money. In 2012 he funneled Jho Low's money into the presidential campaign. In 2017, to get the Chinese national extradicted
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AUSA: The defendant and his fixed sent talking points to the US Secretary of State; they tried to get the Malaysian Prime Minister a golf game with President Trump so he could raise the 1MDB matter off the record
AUSA: In 2017 hewas spirited to Shenzhen from HK to meet with China's Vice Minister of Public Security, about getting back from the US a Chinese national "who at the time was a vocal critic" of Chinese gov't. Inner City Press: And not any more? Cases conflict...
AUSA: The defendant and fixed tried to set up a meeting with the Attorney General to get the Chinese national extradicted. "And it almost worked." In Sunday meeting at Chinese embassy, message was that US NSC was meeting about sending the Chinese national back
AUSA: In 2012 the defendant took $18 million. In 2017, he took $70 million, after paying off his co-conspirators. Three banks closed his accounts, finding his explanations not-credible. He tried to intimidate witnesses with demand letters
NOTE: Pras Michel's legal team has NOT given any opening statement, after the prosecution's, following an order last night by the judge, only docketed this morning (and above in this thread).
First US witness is Special Agent Heuchling, who probed Jho Low 2012-17
Looks like an all-US day. Heuchling still on stand, still direct examination. He has described Jho Low trying to buy a meeting with Obama in Miami though Pras Michel - and shown photo of Michel with Obama, Jho Low didn't get in, despite private jet from Singapore
more below with Guo / politics analysis, below