President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning that he is going to grant a full pardon to Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative author and filmmaker who had pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud in May 2014.
D’Souza is a best-selling author and filmmaker who served as an adviser in Ronald Reagan’s administration. He also used to be an important Christian activist, being the president of a Christian college, a position he had to resign from after he became engaged to another woman while still being married.
He was charged with violating federal election campaign laws in 2014 after accepting that he had made illegal campaign contributions in other people’s names. However, he alleged that he was a victim of selective prosecution because he had been so sharply critical of Barack Obama, in whose administration he was prosecuted.
As NPR reports, where D’Souza also used to be a political commentator, he was convicted of funneling tens of thousands of dollars to a U.S. senate campaign despite the maximum individual donation limit being $5,000. Preet Bharara, who prosecuted in the case and has been a sharp critic of Donald Trump, had denied any political motivation back in 2014 — something he reiterated again after Trump granted executive clemency to Dinesh D’Souza.
“As our office’s record reflects, we will investigate and prosecute violations of federal law, particularly those that undermine the integrity of the democratic electoral process, without regard to the defendant’s political persuasion or party affiliation,” Bharara had said in 2014.
“That is what we did in this case and what we will continue to do.”
The President has the right to pardon but the facts are these: D'Souza intentionally broke the law, voluntarily pled guilty, apologized for his conduct & the judge found no unfairness. The career prosecutors and agents did their job. Period. https://t.co/bA3I8vs4QQ via @politico— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) May 31, 2018
During the guilty plea, D’Souza had accepted that he knew he was committing wrong, as noted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. During his conviction, the judge presiding over his case called D’Souza’s defense “all hat, no cattle,” sentencing him to five years probation, including eight months confinement in a community center.
During the time, D’Souza has declared his support for Trump and celebrated on Fox and Friends when Bharara was ousted by the Trump, calling the prosecutor “ruthless and very deceitful.”
As noted in the report, neither of the last three presidents had pardoned someone so early in their tenures. By contrast, Donald Trump has already granted pardons to four people and one commutation. All of the five people to have received Trump’s clemency involve “prominent figures [who] received a lot of media attention,” including former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is believed to have conducted the “worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history” by the Department of Justice.