Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza is expected to receive a full presidential pardon following a 2014 conviction for violating federal campaign finance laws.
Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
“Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today,” Trump wrote. “He was treated very unfairly by our government!”
Though he pleaded guilty after he was indicted on criminal counts of illegally donating to a campaign and causing false statements to police, D’Souza and many of his fans believe the charges themselves were a form of political retaliation.
A series of books and films critical of President Barack Obama led some to speculate that he was prosecuted more harshly than others in his position by Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
He avoided prison, though, and spent eight months in a halfway house before beginning a five-year probated sentence. A judge also ordered him to pay a $30,000 fine.
The charges against him stem from his admitted violation of campaign contribution limits ahead of the 2012 U.S. Senate race between Republican Wendy Long and Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in New York.
D’Souza used a number of straw donors, primarily acquaintances illegally using his money to donate on his behalf, so he could support Long to the tune of $20,000. This was in violation of federally imposed limits.
In a 2014 interview, he expressed “relief” at the terms of his sentencing, noting that it would not hinder his ability to produce another politically charged film in time for the next election cycle.
“I feel relief, exhilaration — not because I didn’t get a significant sentence, but I was facing a much bigger sentence that would have seriously affected my work and ability to make another movie for election year,” he said. “My sentence restores some faith in a Democratically appointed judge, a Clinton appointee, can look a Democratic government prosecution in the eye and say ‘no’ to the 10-16 month prison sentence they wanted for me.”
In light of a White House visit by socialite Kim Kardashian West on Wednesday, there had been some speculation that a presidential pardon could be forthcoming.
The fact that D’Souza would be its beneficiary, however, came as a surprise across the board.
West met with Trump and administration staff to discuss prison reform, specifically lobbying for clemency in the case of Alice Marie Johnson. The 63-year-old was sentenced to life without parole more than 20 years ago on a first-offense drug conviction.
I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon. It is our hope that the President will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) May 31, 2018
“I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon,” West tweeted on Wednesday. “It is our hope that the President will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense.”
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