Trump offers pardon to conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza for campaign finance violations
Conservative commentator and best-selling author, Dinesh D'Souza, exits the Manhattan Federal Courthouse after pleading guilty in New York in May 2014. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters) May 31 at 10:52 AM Email the author
President Trump announced Thursday that he would offer a full pardon to conservative pundit Dinesh DâSouza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating federal campaign finance laws but later said he was targeted for his conservative views.
DâSouza, an author and filmmaker, was indicted on charges that he illegally used straw donors to contribute to a Republican Senate candidate in New York in 2012. He was sentenced to five years of probation, including eight mo nths living under supervision in a âcommunity confinement centerâ in San Diego, and a $30,000 fine.
[Dinesh DâSouza avoids jail time, gets five years of probation for campaign finance violation]
Prosecutors said DâSouza had other individuals donate money to Republican Wendy Long, a Republican challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in 2012, under the agreement that he would reimburse them for the donations.
Last year, DâSouza claimed he was targeted by the office of then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara because he was an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama and a prominent conservative activist.
In 2012, DâSouza released a movie titled â2016: Obamaâs America,â which took a highly critical view of Obamaâs allegedly radical roots.
âWill be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh DâSouza today,â Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday. âHe was treated very unfairly by our government!â
The pardon would mark the latest instance of Trump deviating from the normal pardon process.
Generally, those seeking pardons must wait five years from the date they are released from confinement before becoming eligible, and they must apply to the Office of the Pardon Attorney. DâSouza does not have an application on file, a Justice Department spokeswoman said.
In the wake of his sentencing, DâSouza continued to strongly criticize Obama, often in provocative ways. In 2015, for example, DâSouza sent out a photo on Twitter of Obama appearing to photograph himself with a selfie stick.
âYOU CAN TAKE THE BOY OUT OF THE GHETTO... Watch this vulgar man show his stuff, while America cowers in embarrassment,â DâSouza wrote.
Trumpâs announcement about DâSouza came a day after reality television star and socialite Kim Kardashian West visited the White House to lobby Trump and his staff to pardon Alice Marie Johnson, 63, a grandmother serving a life sentence for nonviolent d rug offenses.
A tweet sent out by Kardashian West about her visit was later retweeted by Trumpâs eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
DâSouza will be the latest in a string of high-profile recipients of pardons that Trump has offered since taking office.
Others receiving pardons were Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff, who was held in criminal contempt for ignoring a court order related to the detention of immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally; Kristian Saucier, a former Navy sailor convicted of unauthorized retention of national defense information; Lewis âScooterâ Libby, a former chief of staff to Vice President Richard B. Cheney who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice related to the leak of a CIA officerâs identity; and Jack Johnson, boxingâs first black heavyweight champion, convicted of breaking a Jim Crow-era law.
Trump has also commuted the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, the former chief execu tive of what was once the countryâs largest kosher meatpacking plant, who was convicted of more than 80 counts of financial fraud.Source: Google News