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Donald Trump pardons conservative commentator who admitted campaign fraud

Dinesh D’Souza, a filmmaker, author and speaker, was sentenced in federal court in New York to five years of probation in September 2014.

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Dinesh D’Souza, left, accompanied by his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, leaves federal court, in New York (Richard Drew/AP)

Dinesh D’Souza, left, accompanied by his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, leaves federal court, in New York (Richard Drew/AP)

Dinesh D’Souza, left, accompanied by his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, leaves federal court, in New York (Richard Drew/AP)

US President Donald Trump has announced 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, Mr 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 federal court in New York to five years of probation in September 2014 after he admitted making illegal contributions to a US Senate candidate in New York.

He acknowledged that he had two close associates each contribute 10,000 US dollars to the Senate campaign of Wendy Long with the understanding that he would reimburse them.

Ms Long ended up losing the 2012 race to incumbent Democratic Senator 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 Mr 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.

Mr 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 travelling with his white girlfriend.

Mr Trump also said he is considering commuting the sentence of ex-Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and pardoning Martha Stewart.

PA