His new legal team recently field a brief on behalf of Michel, citing that: “A new trial is warranted under Strickland because Michel’s defense counsel, David Kenner, was ineffective and severely prejudiced the defense.”
“Kenner used an experimental AI program to write his closing argument, which made frivolous arguments, conflated the schemes, and failed to highlight key weaknesses in the Government’s case,” the brief continued.
Michel’s new legal team is arguing that usage of the “generative AI program was one of a number of errors made by his ‘unqualified, unprepared and ineffectual’ trial attorney before his conviction earlier this year,” the Associated Press reports.
However, EyeLevel.AI, the company behind the AI (artificial intelligence) program, says that it was merely a tool utilized to aid in writing the closing statements, calling it a precursor for what’s to come in the legal field. In fact, Kenner, who has also represented Snoop Dogg and Suge Knight, called it “a game changer for complex litigation.”
It was widely publicized that the Grammy-winning hip hop star’s trial would be the first time generative AI was used during a federal trial.
In the Michel trial, however, Kenner’s last words to the jury misattributed these lyrics “Every single day, every time I pray, I will be missing you” to the Fugees group his client co-founded. But in reality, they are from a song by another rapper, then-referred to as Puff Daddy.
This April, Michel was found guilty of “all 10 counts he was charged with, including conspiracy and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.” He could serve up to 20 years in prison, but remains free until he is sentenced.
In the brief, Michel’s new defense attorney, Peter Zeidenberg, wrote “At bottom, the AI program failed Kenner, and Kenner failed Michel. The closing argument was deficient, unhelpful, and a missed opportunity that prejudiced the defense.” Additionally, he argued that this caused the jury to become prejudiced since they heard statements alluding to the “crime fraud exception” and “co-conspirators.”
Kenner has not responded to requests for comment. And EyeLevel.AI is insisting that the program used to help Kenner write the closing statement was not “‘experimental’ but instead trained using only facts from the case, including court transcripts, not musical lyrics or anything found online.”
Neil Katz, co-founder and COO explained that the program is supposed to provide quick answers to complex legal questions to assist versus replace human attorneys.
“We think AI technology is going to completely revolutionize the legal field by making it faster and cheaper to get complex answers to legal questions and research,” stated Katz, who is also denying that Kenner has any vested financial interests in the company.
As AI technology becomes increasingly prevalent, questions are being raised around regulation, misinformation, and copyright. The Michel case could set precedents for future legal cases. According to surveys, more than half of lawyers will be using the technology by the following year.