(Reuters) – Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza avoided prison on Tuesday when a U.S. judge sentenced him to serve eight months in a community confinement center after he pled guilty to violating campaign finance law.
D’Souza, 53, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan to live in the center at the start of a five year probationary period in which he must do one day of community service a week. He must also pay a $30,000 fine and undergo weekly therapy, Berman said.
D’Souza, a frequent critic of U.S. President Barack Obama, admitted in May to illegally reimbursing two “straw donors” who donated $10,000 each to the unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign in New York of Wendy Long, a Republican he had known since attending Dartmouth College in the early 1980s.
“It was a crazy idea, it was a bad idea,” D’Souza told Berman before being sentenced. “I regret breaking the law.”
Prosecutors had sought a 10-to 16-month prison sentence, rejecting defense arguments that D’Souza was “ashamed and contrite” about his crime and deserved probation with community service.
They cited statements D’Souza made on TV and the Internet after his guilty plea, where he complained about being “selectively” targeted for prosecution and having little choice but to plead guilty.