Dinesh D’Souza slams talk of new trial on old charge
New York’s effort to put Dinesh D’Souza on trial twice for the same crime following his presidential pardon ought to convince any doubters that his prosecution was a “political hit,” he said Sunday.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood called Thursday on legislators to overhaul state law against double jeopardy in order to retry the conservative author and filmmaker after President Trump pardoned him for 2014 campaign-finance violations.
“These people will stop at nothing,” Mr. D’Souza told “Fox Friends.” “It confirms that this is a political hit, and if they don’t get their way, they want to be able to take a second strike.”
“SECOND STRIKE”: @DineshDSouza hits back at NY AG who wants to prosecute people like him twice pic.twitter.com/1XcCYo4xTC FOX friends (@foxandfriends) June 3, 2018
In a statement, Ms. Underwood urged lawmakers to “close New York’s double jeopardy loophole and ensure that anyone who evades federal justice by virtue of a politically expedient pardon can be held accountable if they violate New York law.”
“We can’t afford to wait to see who will be next,” Ms. Underwood said. “Lawmakers must act now to close New York’s double jeopardy loophole and ensure that anyone who evades federal justice by virtue of a politically expedient pardon can be held accountable if they violate New York law.”
Mr. D’Souza said her eagerness to take another crack at him proves his point.
“Far from shuddering at this latest development, I’m actually chuckling about it because I think it’s very eye-opening,” said Mr. D’Souza. “I have maintained from the beginning that this prosecution in my case was political, that it was motivated by the Obama administration’s desire to somehow get me.”
Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Sunday that Mr. D’Souza was “prosecuted fairly” after he accused him of trying to “destroy a fellow Indian-American to advance his career.”
“I don’t have any other response, other than to say he was prosecuted fairly,” said Mr. Bharara on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Nobody takes into account someone’s ethnicity or background or even political viewpoint.”
Ms. Underwood’s predecessor Eric Schneiderman, who resigned May 7 over sexual-misconduct allegations, had pushed for a bill to exempt anyone from the double-jeopardy ban who receives a presidential pardon or other reprieve, the New York Daily News reported.
“She’s basically saying, ‘Listen, the normal course of things didn’t work, this guy got away, and now we’ve got to get him some other way. So let’s come up with a strategy for prosecuting people twice,’” said Mr. D’Souza.
The former president of The King’s College in New York City, Mr. D’Souza also took a jab at Ms. Underwood’s use of the phrase “double jeopardy loophole.”
“My favorite term is the double jeopardy loophole,” said Mr. D’Souza. “So this basic constitutional protection has now become a loophole. I guess if I had gotten off because of an illegal search and seizure, they’d want to close the illegal search and seizure loophole.”
Mr. Trump issued a full pardon Thursday to Mr. D’Souza, who received eight months in a halfway house, five years’ probation and a $30,000 fine for a violation of campaign-finance law, a sentence described by his supporters as excessive.
He pleaded guilty to one felony count of setting up a “straw donor” to make a $20,000 donation to a 2012 Senate candidate.
“I’ve always felt he was very unfairly treated,” Mr. Trump said. “And a lot of people did, a lot of people did.”
He said the penalty should have been “a quick, minor fine, like everybody else with the election stuff.”