New York: United States President Donald Trump has said that he will pardon Dinesh D’Souza, a controversial conservative Indian-American media personality, who was convicted of making illegal contributions to a Republican Party candidate for Senate.
Trump tweeted on Thursday, “Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government.”
D’Souza was prosecuted by Indian-American New York federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, and convicted in 2014 of making illegal election contributions of $10,000 to Republican Senate Candidate Wendy Long.
A journalist, author and filmmaker, D’Souza was a harsh critic of former President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
He is known for stirring controversy with his angry rhetoric.
He was fined $30,000 and sentenced to five years of probation and eight months of overnight detention in a so-called halfway house.
Bharara defended his role tweeting, “D’Souza intentionally broke the law, voluntarily pled guilty, apologized for his conduct & the judge found no unfairness.
However, a Indian-American, Sant Chatwal, who illegally contributed $188,000 illegal election contributions to Clinton was not prosecuted by Bharara, but was taken to court by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch when she was the federal prosecutor in Brooklyn in 2014.
Chatwal on his conviction was not sentenced to overnight detention like D’Souza, but received three years of probation, a fine of $500,000 and $1 million in forfeiture.
Prosecutors kept Clinton’s name off the charges, saying only that Chatwal had made an illegal contribution.
Chatwal, however, named her as the recipient in court papers pleading for leniency.
Republican Senator welcomed D’Souza’s pardon, tweeting, “Dinesh was the subject of a political prosecution, brazenly targeted by the Obama administration bc (because) of his political views.”
D’Souza’s book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” which claimed that Obama was furthering the anti-colonial ideology to run down the US, was later made into a film.
He also produced a scathing documentary on Clinton, “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.”
Bharara had also prosecuted Rajat Gupta, Raj Rajaratnam and Mathew Martoma for insider trading on Wall Street, and had Indian diplomat Devyani arrested.
By Arul Louis