After pleading guilty to charges that he provided money to two individuals who donated to a Senate candidate on his behalf in 2012, conservative filmmaker and author Dinesh D’Souza is hoping for probation upon sentencing. If federal prosecutors have their way, however, the Obama administration critic could spend nearly a year and a half in prison.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was appointed by Barack Obama, is leading the charge to lock the 53-year-old up for what he asserts was a serious offense.
Prosecutors wrote recently that D’Souza’s plea for leniency should be ignored because he did not immediately confess to his crime.
“The defendant 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,” the statement read. “The defendant’s crime is serious and strikes at the heart of our federal election system.”
D’Souza attorney Benjamin Brafman scoffed at the prosecution’s narrative.
“Any suggestion that Mr. D’Souza has not fully accepted responsibility for his conduct is patently absurd,” he said.
Writing on his own behalf, the embattled conservative explained to Federal District Judge Richard M. Berman that he made a terrible decision based on his personal support of candidate Wendy Long.
“No good purpose would be served by locking me up,” he explained, asking for a sentence that instead consisted of a community service requirement.
High-profile conservatives – and even some political adversaries – have come to his defense in recommending a lenient sentence. He could face up to two years’ incarceration and a $250,000 fine; however, prosecutors are recommending a prison sentence of 10 to 16 months.
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Prior to his client’s guilty plea, Brafman made an unsuccessful appeal to Berman in which he suggested the federal charges were based on the decidedly anti-Obama tone of his recent films and books.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)