D'Souza on Pardon: President Trump Told Me, 'You Got Screwed'
Conservative filmmaker, author, and commentator Dinesh D'Souza thanked President Trump Friday for his decision to pardon him over his 2014 conviction on a campaign finance violation, saying that the pardon will give him back his right to vote.
The filmmaker has long believed that he was singled out by the Obama administration in retaliation for his movie 2016: Obama's America. He said Friday on Fox & Friends that the prosecution against him was a "vindictive political hit," pointing out that there isn't a single other case of someone being indicted or incarcerated for the minor violations he committed.
Trump announced the pardon in a tweet Thursday morning, agreeing that D'Souza had been "treated very unfairly by our government":
D'Souza told the hosts that when Trump called to say that he was pardoning him, Trump said a "great injustice had been done," and that he knew "from the beginning that it was fishy." According to D'Souza, the president also said: "I gotta tell you, man to man: you've been screwed."
He said Trump also told him that he was “a great voice for freedom” and wanted him to “be a bigger voice than ever.”
D'Souza disputed the contention made Thursday by former New York AG Preet Bharara -- who had prosecuted D'Souza -- that the prosecution was justified:
"These guys decided to make an example of me," D'Souza argued, explaining that he was forced to plead guilty to avoid a second charge that carried a five-year prison sentence.
"This kind of legal bludgeoning tactic is used not only against the guilty, but against the innocent," D'Souza said. "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 told the hosts that he knew Obama was upset because he had been "raging about it" on his website BarackObama.com. "So this was a vindictive political hit that was kind of aimed at putting me out of business, essentially destroying my credibility, making it impossible for me to make movies and write books. In that sense, it failed," D'Souza noted, pointing out that he has continued to make movies and write books. "But it left a cloud over me. I would be a lifelong felon. I would never be able to vote and never have my full rights."