Christian Pundit Dinesh D'Souza Sentenced to 5 Years Probation
Update, Tues., Sept. 23, 2014
Dinesh D'Souza isn't going to prison. The famed conservative writer and now filmmaker was in US District Court in New York this afternoon for sentencing after his May court appearance in which he pleaded guilty to a single count of violating campaign finance law.
In court, Judge Richard Berman sentenced D'Souza to five years of probation, starting with the defendant living in a community confinement center for eight months. Judge Berman also fined D'Souza $30,000 for illegally passing cash donations to a GOP senate candidate using third party "straw donors." Federal law limits the amount each individual can give to someone standing for national election.
Since his May guilty plea, D'Souza has published a new book and released a related film. The New York Times notes:
Even with his fate hanging in the balance, Mr. D’Souza plowed ahead with his thriving career as a right-wing provocateur. Over the summer, while awaiting his sentencing, he published the book America: Imagine a World Without Her, which reached No. 1 on The New York Times’s nonfiction hardcover best-seller list, and a companion documentary film that has made $14.4 million at the box office.
Via Twitter, D'Souza today said, "A great calm comes over me when I remind myself that there is a higher power that is sovereign and remains in charge."
The attorneys for D'Souza in their court filing prior to today's sentencing maintained that their client was being singled out for "more vigorous prosection." For years, D'Souza has been a harsh critic of President Obama and laid out a case against Obama in the book, The Roots of Obama's Rage.
May 20, 2014
In federal district court in New York this morning, Christian political commentator Dinesh D'Souza entered a guilty plea to one count of violating campaign finance law.
His case was scheduled to go to trial today in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. But this morning, he pleaded guilty, suspending the trial. His sentencing will occur at a later date. A second count against him of making false statements could be dismissed after sentencing.
Earlier, D'Souza through his attorney alleged that the government was engaging in "selective prosecution" of him due to his "consistently caustic and highly publicized criticism" of President Obama. But a judge dismissed this allegation last week.
Back in January, federal prosecutors charged D'Souza with making campaign contributions to a New York Republican senatorial campaign through the use of "straw donors." It is illegal to give money to a private individual with the intention of getting around federal campaign contribution limits. He was additionally charged with making false statements about these contributions. Individuals are limited to contributing $5,000 to a particular candidate per election cycle.
D'Souza, a conservative author, filmmaker, and former president of The King's College in New York, has a strong following among religious conservatives. In 2010, he wrote The Roots of Obama's Rage, which explored President Obama's family and the political views of his late father. In 2012, a film version of the book was released. Called 2016: Obama's America, this film drew a huge audience for a political documentary.
Earlier, his 2007 book, What's So Great about Christianity? endeared him to conservative Christians, both Catholic and evangelical. He served as a columnist for Christianity Today for about one year in 2009.
In 2010, King's College in New York City named D'Souza as its president. But his tenure was short-lived. Questions surfaced in the media about D'Souza's troubled marriage. He was in the process of divorce, but had become engaged to someone else, who was also reportedly married at the time. The controversy and scandal resulted in D'Souza resigning from the college presidency.
D'Souza will be releasing a new book and film in coming weeks.