Trump to pardon conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he will pardon conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud.

As he left Washington for a trip to Texas, Trump tweeted: “Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!”

D’Souza, a conservative filmmaker, author and speaker was sentenced in September 2014 in federal court in New York to five years of probation after he admitted making illegal contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate in New York.

D’Souza acknowledged that he had two close associates each contribute $10,000 to the Senate campaign of Wendy Long with the understanding that he would reimburse them. Long ended up losing the 2012 race to incumbent Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

D’Souza, who made the documentary “2016: Obama’s America,” entered the plea a week after the federal judge overseeing his case rejected his claim that he was selectively prosecuted. The judge said D’Souza had shown the court no evidence that he was targeted.

The government said in court papers that D’Souza faced overwhelming evidence of guilt and “now seizes upon the fact that he is an outspoken critic of the Obama administration as an excuse to avoid the consequences of his actions.”

D’Souza is a former policy analyst under President Ronald Reagan and a prolific author well known for works critical of former President Barack Obama. He retweeted Trump’s tweet about the forthcoming pardon, but did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment sent to his media company, D’Souza Media.

Trump’s announcement that he will pardon D’Souza follows the president’s granting last week of a rare posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, boxing’s first black heavyweight champion. The pardon cleared Johnson’s name more than 100 years after what many viewed as his racially charged conviction in 1913 for traveling with his white girlfriend.