Fugees’ Pras calls for retrial, says his lawyer used AI on closing arguments

It would seem like common sense, but as others have discovered, it turns out generative AI is not quite at the level to be used in the courtroom. FugeesPrakazrel “Pras” Michel seems to have discovered this too; after being found guilty on 10 felony counts of political conspiracy, Reuters reports that he’s filed for a retrial, on the grounds that his last defense attorney, David Kenner, used an experimental generative AI program, EyeLevel.AI, to draft the closing arguments in his case.

In the filing, Pras’ new lawyer from ArentFox Schiff writes, “Kenner generated his closing argument —- perhaps the single most important portion of any jury trial —- using a proprietary prototype AI program.” The brief continues, “Kenner’s closing argument made frivolous arguments, misapprehended the required elements, conflated the schemes and ignored critical weaknesses in the government’s case.”

The brief also accuses Kenner and his co-counsel Alon Israely of having had “an undisclosed financial stake” in EyeLevel.AI, through its technology partner CaseFile Connect. A May 10 press release claims that “EyeLevel.AI’s litigation assistance technology made history last week, becoming the first use of generative AI in a federal trial.” It also quotes Kenner as saying, “This is an absolute game changer for complex litigation. The system turned hours or days of legal work into seconds. This is a look into the future of how cases will be conducted.”

In an emailed statement to Reuters, EyeLevel.AI denied that Kenner and Israely had a financial stake in the company. “EyeLevel’s AI for legal is a powerful tool for human lawyers to make human decisions, but do so faster and with far greater information at their fingertips,” their statement continued. “EyeLevel is able to ingest and understand complex legal transcripts based solely on the facts of the case as presented in court.”

In addition to his AI-usage, the brief gives numerous other reasons that Kenner was “ineffective and severely prejudiced the defense,” saying that he “failed to familiarize himself with the charged statutes,” “did not understand the facts or allegations,” “failed to object to other obvious hearsay,” “failed to properly prepare for trial or prepare Michel for his testimony and cross-examination,” among other allegations. You can read the brief in full here.

Pras begins a tour with Fugees and Lauryn Hill in Newark, NJ tonight (10/17) at Prudential Center.