Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative filmmaker and pundit, pled guilty to a single count of making illegal campaign contributions Tuesday.
In exchange for the plea, Dinesh D’Souza will receive a lighter sentence than he might have had he gone to trial on the original charges considered against him.
The filmmaker behind 2016: Obama’s America has suffered a number of setbacks in the past year, including the revelation of what appeared to be an affair and subsequent engagement — while still married to his wife of many years.
Then in January, D’Souza was indicted on charges relating to campaign contributions. Allegedly, the filmmaker had solicited friends to donate to the campaign of Wendy Long, who unsuccessfully challenged Kristen Gillibrand in 2012. D’Souza was said to have promised the friends he approached that they’d be reimbursed for their donations to the candidate.
While the actions of which D’Souza stood accused were clearly illegal, political allies clamored immediately to allege that the filmmaker was being targeted due to his outspoken critique of the Obama administration.
The opinions weren’t fringe either — in February, Sen. Ted Cruz told The Hollywood Reporter that he believed Dinesh D’Souza was being targeted purely for political purposes, saying:
“It’s a remarkably selective prosecution, considering Obama raised millions of dollars under similar circumstances and donors merely faced civil fines while D’Souza is charged with felony violation of federal law.”
The New York Times reported that by Monday, a plea appeared to be in the works for D’Souza, reducing the time he could spend in jail over the charges.
The paper indicated that motions made by attorneys for the pundit alleging political motives were dismissed by the judge:
“[D’Souza’s lawyer] Mr. Brafman had filed court papers charging that the government ‘targeted’ Mr. D’Souza ‘because of his consistently caustic and highly publicized criticism’ of President Obama, and he asked Judge Berman to order the government to provide discovery materials that would allow him to pursue the issue. The judge denied that request last week.”
Over on Facebook, D’Souza posted regarding the plea bargain, adding a statement from Long over the development:
Supporters rallied on a separate post, as the filmmaker updated fans on his case:
In exchange for Dinesh D’Souza’s guilty plea on the illegal campaign contributions charge, prosecutors dropped the more serious charge of making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. While the latter has a five-year maximum sentence, D’Souza’s plea carries a max of two years in prison, and he is expected to be sentenced in four months.
[Image Courtesy of Fox News]