NEW YORK – Facing a request by Justice Department prosecutors for a 16-month sentence, author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza rejected their assertion that he hasn’t taken responsibility for his campaign-finance violations.
“I am contrite for exceeding the campaign finance limit, but I am not contrite for being a public critic of the Obama administration,” D’Souza told WND in an exclusive interview Friday.
In a court filing Wednesday, prosecutors argued D’Souza’s continued criticism of Obama in many media interviews after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations demonstrated an unwillingness to take responsibility for his crime.
As WND reported May 20, D’Souza pleaded guilty to using “straw donors.” He reimbursed friends $10,000 for donating to Wendy Long’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2012, circumventing the $5,000 federal limit for individual contributions. Long has been a friend since the 1980s, when both attended Dartmouth College.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in the court filing D’Souza “pled guilty at the last possible moment before trial began, not because he actually accepted responsibility for his conduct, but because he was in fact guilty and he had no defense or excuse for his criminal conduct.”
While the range of sentencing according to federal guidelines runs up to 24 months, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman has discretion when he sentences D’Souza on Sept. 23 in New York City.
In his petition to the court, D’Souza argued for leniency, asking to be allowed to do community service under probation. He argued his prior criminal record was clean and he was genuinely contrite for having committed what many consider to be a technical violation of campaign finance laws.
Supporters of D’Souza have contended the Obama administration’s quest for a 16-month prison sentence is politically vindictive. The critics see a double standard, maintaining Eric Holder’s Justice Department typically ignores similar technical violations in contributions to Democratic Party campaigns.
D’Souza has made two successful documentaries critical of Obama and his leftist ideology, “2016: Obama’s America” and “America: Imagine the World Without Her,” which was released in July.
After ringing up approximately $14.5 million in nationwide theater distribution, D’Souza’s latest film is scheduled to go into DVD distribution in October.
His book by the same title was a No. 1 bestseller both on Amazon.com and on the New York Times bestseller list.
WND broke the story in July that wholesale giant Costco had removed D’Souza’s book, “America,” from shelves nationwide, prompting many Costco shoppers to cancel store memberships. Amid the backlash, Costco reversed the decision and reordered the book.
Sales figures obtained by WND show that since July, Costco has sold more than 75,000 copies of D’Souza’s book. Costco has placed a substantial order for the forthcoming DVD.