The Slatest

Conservative Star Dinesh D’Souza Avoids Jail Time for Illegal Campaign Contributions

Dinesh D’Souza at the premiere of America in June.   

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

In January, conservative commentator-cum-author-cum-director Dinesh D’Souza was indicted for not so subtly funneling illegal campaign contributions into the 2012 New York Senate race. In April, D’Souza pronounced he was being picked on by the government because of its decision to—gasp—actually prosecute him for said federal crime, claiming he was being targeted for his outspoken criticism of President Obama. In May, a more contrite D’Souza pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws, telling the court “I deeply regret my conduct.” On Tuesday, the self-created high-profile legal drama came to a close, as a federal judge spared D’Souza jail time, opting instead for probation and a fine. “I’m just relieved and want to thank the judge for imposing a fair sentence,” D’Souza said after Tuesday’s hearing, Reuters reports.

D’Souza could have faced more than a year in prison for his crime, according to federal sentencing guidelines. “The government charged Mr. D’Souza, 53, with illegally arranging to have two people—an employee and a woman with whom he was romantically involved—donate $10,000 each to the campaign of an old friend from Dartmouth College, Wendy E. Long, with the understanding that he would reimburse them in cash for their contributions,” according to the New York Times.

Here’s more from the Wall Street Journal on the sentencing:

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman sentenced him to five years of probation. The judge, who had tough words for Mr. D’Souza during a lengthy statement, said that while Mr. D’Souza didn’t deserve to go to prison, his sentence had to have some teeth. He cited post-plea television interviews Mr. D’Souza gave in which, according to Judge Berman, he appeared to deflect responsibility for his crimes. “[Mr. D’Souza is] a talker, in fact, he’s almost a compulsive talker,” Judge Berman said. “I don’t think he’s a listener … ” On Tuesday, Judge Berman said he has seen no evidence of any selective prosecution and that any such assertion was pure speculation by Mr. D’Souza. He ordered Mr. D’Souza to serve the first eight months of his sentence at a halfway house, undergo weekly psychological therapy, and spend one full-day a week teaching English as a second language throughout the duration of his probation.

“Even with his fate hanging in the balance, Mr. D’Souza plowed ahead with his thriving career as a right-wing provocateur,” the Times reports. “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.”