D'Souza: I Won't Be Intimidated by Campaign-Finance Charges
Saturday, February 1, 2014 10:44 PM
By: Todd Beamon
Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative commentator and filmmaker, says he won't be intimidated by his indictment earlier this month on campaign-finance charges.
"I’m going to proceed with my work and my ideas — and the film will be unimpeded by what's going on,” D’Souza told The Daily Caller.
D’Souza, 52, was referring to his forthcoming documentary film "America," which is scheduled to be released July 4.
He also directed the 2012 film critical of President Barack Obama, "2016: Obama's America." It is the highest-grossing documentary of all time — with a take of more than $33 million.
D’Souza was indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 23 on charges of using straw donors around August 2012. He is accused of reimbursing people whom he had directed to contribute $20,000 reportedly to the New York Senate campaign of Republican Wendy Long, a longtime friend, who was handily defeated by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in last November's election.
His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, has contended that D'Souza's actions were "at worst," an act of misguided friendship toward the candidate.
D'Souza was charged in the indictment with one count of making illegal contributions in the names of others, and one count of causing false statements to be made.
Federal law in 2012 limited primary and general election campaign contributions to $2,500 each, for a total of $5,000, from any individual to any one candidate.
D'Souza has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains free on $500,000 bail.
Conservative commentators, including several interviewed by Newsmax, have charged that the indictment was a form of retribution for D'Souza's role in the anti-Obama film.
Born in Mumbai, India, D'Souza was a policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan, and has been affiliated with such conservative organizations as the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
In interviews with the Daily Caller and with Sean Hannity on his Fox News program Friday night, D'Souza declined to say whether the incidents might be related.
"I will say that the film — '2016'— was a film that does seem to have gotten under President Obama’s skin," D'Souza told Hannity.
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He noted an attack on the documentary by Obama's "2012 Truth Team" — which he called a "rant."
"Whether this is a kind of payback remains to be seen," D'Souza said.
Meanwhile, he told the Daily Caller that "America" would examine progressivism across the country and the role that Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, considered the likely Democratic nominee for president in 2016, have played in its decline.
"2016 was a film that was narrowly focused on the ideological roots of Obama," he said. "Some people called it a horror film.
"This film is much broader," D'Souza added. "Obama and Hillary will be in the film, but it’s about what is the spirit that builds America and what are the forces that are bringing it down."