A conservative commentator says author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza is being persecuted because he made a documentary highly critical of President Obama.
On Tuesday, D'Souza – who made the documentary 2016: Obama's America – pleaded guilty in New York federal court to making illegal campaign contributions, admitting that he convinced two close associates to make $10,000 contributions to Wendy Long, the unsuccessful New York Republican senatorial candidate in 2012. A prosecutor says Long was prepared to testify against him. D'Souza said he knew what he did was wrong and illegal and that he deeply regrets it.
Robert Knight, a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for OneNewsNow.com, says this is clearly a political prosecution.
"This is the kind of stuff you see in countries like Venezuela and Cuba where the political authorities arrest and imprison people who oppose the regime," he shares. "Even if the charges are legitimate, they're selectively applied. We're seeing that in America now and it's not a pretty sight."
Knight argues that in comparison to other political contributions, the amount of money in D'Souza's case is rather small.
"[He] did nothing that thousands of people haven't done in the course of a political campaign," he points out. "In fact, even President Obama's presidential campaign in 2008 was fined several years later for $375,000 for failing to disclose millions of dollars in contributions. But for the author of a book ... and a movie critical of Obama to be facing these charges and even possible jail time is frankly obscene."
D'Souza's plea agreement calls for a sentence of 10 to 16 months in prison. Knight believes that would be over-the-top.
"It's not that he didn't something wrong, it's just that the penalty seems outsized given common practices in politics today," says the columnist. "When Barack Obama goes to Hollywood and his supporters bundle literally millions of dollars, nobody seems to follow that and see if it passes the D'Souza test. It's a one-way street and it shouldn't happen in America."
D'Souza, former president of The King's College in New York City, will be sentenced on September 23.