On Thursday, President Donald Trump pardoned conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza for his illegal campaign contributions, and weighed offering clemency for two other notable conservatives.

Trump Pardons Dinesh D’Souza

D’Souza pled guilty in 2014 to making illicit campaign donations to Wendy Long, a former Republican candidate for the Senate in New York. According to The New York Times, D’Souza and Long were friends from college and he gave $20,000 in “gifts” to her Senate bid. These were determined to be “straw donations” made to avoid limits on contributions. D’Souza, 57, received a $30,000 fine and a five-year probation sentence, which included eight months in a supervised “community confinement center.”

Trump said in a tweet that D’Souza “was treated very unfairly by our government!”

An Indian-American who was born in Mumbai, D’Souza is know for his extreme right-wing views and for pushing conspiracy theories on cable news shows and Twitter, as well as in his books and documentary films. A prominent Trump supporter and fierce Barack Obama opponent, D’Souza made a documentary in 2012 called 2016: Obama’s America, in which he sharply criticized the former president, calling him a socialist. D’Souza also tweeted photos that called Obama a “gay Muslim,” and also once referred to the former president as “grown-up Trayvon,” referring to Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager who was killed by a white neighborhood patrol watchmen in Florida in 2012. He also said Obama is “obsessed” with his father and that he tried to push his father’s Kenyan colonialist agenda.


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In a Fox News interview on Friday, D’Souza claimed Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder and Preet Bharara — the former U.S. Attorney of New York’s Southern District — conspired to punish him over his film criticizing Obama.

“What happened here is Obama and his team, Eric Holder, Preet Bharara in New York, these guys decided to make an example of me, and I think that the reason for this was Obama’s anger over my movie that I made about him,” D’Souza said on Fox and Friends.

Bharara tweeted the following on Thursday, while sharing a link to an article about D’Souza’s guilty plea in 2014.

Among the other conspiracy theories D’Souza has pushed are that the Las Vegas shooting was a hoax perpetrated by an anti-Trump activist and that the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 were staged.

D’Souza also mocked a woman who accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual harassment and derided the students who survived the shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February after they unsuccessfully tried to press lawmakers to institute gun reform.

“Adults 1, kids, 0,” D’Souza tweeted while sharing an article reporting that lawmakers refused to approve a bill that would ban assault weapons.

“Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs,” he added in a separate tweet about the high schoolers.

D’Souza later apologized for his remarks.

Trump also told reporters Thursday that he is considering pardoning disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. 

Blagojevich was impeached as Governor in December 2008 and charged for allegedly soliciting bribes for appointments of politicians. He was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Trump said on Air Force One that “what [Blagojevich] did does not justify” his sentence and that he “shouldn’t have been put in jail.”

Another person the president mentioned a possible pardon for is author and television personality Martha Stewart. 

Stewart was convicted in 2004 on felony charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, securities fraud and lying to federal investigators about her involvement in a stock trading case.

Both Stewart and Blagojevich were contestants on The Apprentice.

Thus far, Trump has pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, former George W. Bush administration official Scooter Libby, former U.S. Navy sailor Kristian Saucier and late boxer Jack Johnson.

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