Netizen 24 CAN: Trump to pardon conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza, suggests he may do the same for Martha Stewart

Posted by On 11:12 AM

Trump to pardon conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza, suggests he may do the same for Martha Stewart

Thu., May 31, 2018

WASHINGTONâ€"U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he would offer a full pardon to conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating federal campaign finance laws but later said he was targeted for his conservative views.

The president, who has issued a series of pardons in recent months, said he is also considering leniency in number of other cases, including those of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and Martha Stewart, the author and television personality.

Prosecutors said Dinesh D'Souza, pictured, had    other individuals donate money to Republican Wendy Long, a Republican challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012, under the agreement that he would reimburse them for the donations.
Prosecutors said Dinesh D'Souza, pictured, had other individuals donate money to Republican Wendy Long, a Republican challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012, under the agreement that he would reimburse them for the donations.

D’Souza, 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 months living under supervision in a “community confinement centre” in San Diego, and a $30,000 (U.S.) fine.

Prosecutors said D’Souza had other individuals donate money to Republican Wendy Long, a Republican challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012, under the agreement that he would reimburse them f or the donations.

“Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “He was treated very unfairly by our government!”

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Trump later told reporters travelling with him on Air Force One that he is considering commuting the remainder of the sentence of Blagojevich, who was convicted in 2010 on charges relating to the selling of President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.

Bragging about getting something in return for a Senate appointment, Trump said, was “a stupid thing to say-but 18 years?”

Trump also cited the case of Stewart, who was convicted in 2004 of obstructing justice and lying to investigators about a well-timed stock sale.

D’Souza 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, D’Souza released a movie titled 2016: Obama’s A merica, which took a highly critical view of Obama’s allegedly radical roots.

During an interview with syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham on Thursday after Trump announced the pardon, D’Souza characterized prosecutors in the case as a “team of goons” who gave him a disproportionate sentence.

In an opinion piece published earlier this month by Fox News, D’Souza said that in the FBI file on his case, he was “red-flagged as a political conservative who made a movie critical of President Obama.”

“Why mention this?” D’Souza wrote. “The FBI did it to signal to the Obama Justice Department and its stooges that I was a political enemy they might want to prosecute.”

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Read more:

Trump meets with Kim Kardashian as she advocates for prison inmate’s pardon

Trump pardons late boxer Jack Johnson, the sport’s first Black heavyweight champion

During his plea hearing in 2014, D’S ouza acknowledged wrongdoing.

“I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids,” D’Souza said in court. “I deeply regret my conduct.”

Bharara weighed in on Trump’s action shortly after it was announced, writing on Twitter that Trump had the right to pardon D’Souza 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.”

Some fellow conservatives, however, cheered Trump’s move.

“Bravo!” Sen. Ted Cruz wrote in a tweet in which he claimed D’Souza “was the subject of a political prosecution, brazenly targeted by the Obama administration bc of his political views.”

D’Souza, Cruz added, is “a powerful voice for freedom, systematically dismantling the lies of the Left-which is why they hate him. This is Ju stice.”

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. D’Souza does not have an application on file, a Justice Department spokeswoman said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has defended Trump’s practices, telling a Senate panel in April that the president “clearly has the constitutional power to execute pardons” and is not obligated to confer with the Justice Department.

The issue took on heightened significance in March, when it was disclosed one of Trump’s attorneys had earlier suggested the president could pardon former advisers targeted in the investigation into Russia’s election interference.

In the wake of his sentencing, D’Souza continued to strongly criticize Obama, often in provocative ways. In 2015, f or example, D’Souza sent out a photo on Twitter of Obama appearing to photograph himself with a selfie stick.

“YOU CAN TAKE THE BOY OUT OF THE GHETTO... Watch this vulgar man show his stuff, while America cowers in embarrassment,” D’Souza wrote.

Trump’s announcement about D’Souza 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 drug offences.

A tweet sent out by Kardashian West about her visit was later retweeted by Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

D’Souza will be the latest in a string of high-profile recipients of pardons that Trump has offered since taking office.

Others receiving pardons from Trump: Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff, who was held in criminal contempt for ignoring a court order related to the detention of immigrants suspected o f being in the country illegally; Kristian Saucier, a former Navy sailor convicted of unauthorized retention of national defence information; Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice related to the leak of a CIA officer’s identity; and Jack Johnson, boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, convicted of breaking a Jim Crow-era law.

Trump has also commuted the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, the former chief executive of what was once the country’s largest kosher meat packing plant, who was convicted of more than 80 counts of financial fraud.

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