Trump Pardons Conservative Filmmaker D’Souza

Chief executive contends well-known author, lecturer, and political documentary producer was wrongfully convicted in 2014 of campaign finance violation

President Donald Trump announced on social media Thursday that he plans on pardoning Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of making an illegal campaign contribution.

D’Souza said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” shortly after the announcement that on Wednesday he had received a phone call from the president to tell him about the decision.

“I’m relieved and elated and excited,” D’Souza said. “We had a 10-minute conversation and basically President Trump said I’m signing this in the morning. It’s a done deal and he said you got shafted by those guys. You did something that should have gotten a slap on the wrist.”

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D’Souza is a prominent conservative filmmaker who was convicted on the illegal campaign contributions in 2014. But his supporters, some of whom launched a petition, argue the prosecution was politically motivated. Trump is giving D’Souza’s supporters a huge win with his pardon.

“Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today,” Trump said in a tweet. “He was treated very unfairly by our government!”

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D’Souza has produced and released controversial political films since 2014 criticizing former President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee for the 2016 election Hillary Clinton. He has also appeared regularly as a political commentator and has written more than a dozen books. He pleaded guilty to illegal contributions on May 20, 2014.

“Dinesh D’Souza attempted to illegally contribute over $10,000 to a Senate campaign, willfully undermining the integrity of the campaign finance process,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, an Obama appointee, said at the time. “Like many others before him, of all political stripes, he has had to answer for this crime — here with a felony conviction.”

D’Souza directed individuals he was associated with to make contributions to Wendy Long’s Senate campaign in August 2012. He promised that he would reimburse them for the contributions in the amount of $20,000. The Election Act, however, had already limited campaign contributions to $5,000 from any individual to a candidate in 2012.

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D’Souza was sentenced to eight months’ overnight confinement, a large fine, mandatory psychological counseling, and five years of probation and community service. His supporters who allege his prosecution was politically motivated argue that no American has ever been prosecuted for the same crime that didn’t involve some kind of quid pro quo.

“I was under a five year, not just probation, but also community service one day a week for five years,” D’Souza told host Laura Ingraham. “That’s very hard to do if you’re trying to live a productive life or hold a normal job. With regard to Preet Bharara, I see him along with Eric Holder, as part of the Obama team of goons, if you will, that was unleashed to get me in retaliation for the movie I made about Obama.”

Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

(photo credit, article images: Dinesh D’Souza, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)

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