Last January, conservative firebrand Dinesh D’Souza, who has made a name for himself in conservative circles with his anti-Obama films featuring rhetoric that seemed out of character given some of his writing in the past, was indicted for violating Federal election laws. As alleged in the indictment, D’Souza had convinced two associates to donate $10,000 each to the campaign of Wendy Long, the Republican running a seemingly unwinnable race against New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand in 2012, and then reimbursing them for the full amount of their donations. In this manner, the indictment alleged, D’Souza was able to evade the 40 year old law that limits the amount that an individual can contribute to a political candidate. For his part, D’Souza and his supporters, a group which quickly dwindled after he was indicted, claimed that the entire prosecution was an example of political targeting by the Obama Administration and that D’Souza was only being prosecuted because of his criticisms of the President over the past five years.
The trial in D’Souza’s case was supposed to begin in New York City today with jury selection. Instead, D’Souza has given up the ghost and plead guilty:
(Reuters) – Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a campaign finance law violation, avoiding a trial that had been expected to begin the same day in a Manhattan federal court. D’Souza, known for his biting criticism of President Barack Obama, pleaded guilty to one criminal count of making illegal contributions in the names of others. A second count concerning the making of false statements is expected to be dismissed once he is sentenced.
The plea came four months after Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged D’Souza with using “straw donors” to give funds in 2012 to Republican Wendy Long’s U.S. Senate campaign in New York. Long, who met D’Souza while they were students in the 1980s, lost to Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand.
“I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids,” D’Souza, 53, told U.S. District Judge Berman on Tuesday. “I deeply regret my conduct.”