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Trump says he will pardon conservative firebrand Dinesh D'Souza

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Washington (AFP)

Saying he was treated "very unfairly," President Donald Trump said Thursday that he will pardon conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza, who pleaded guilty four years ago to violating US campaign financing laws.

"Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D'Souza today," Trump tweeted. "He was treated very unfairly by our government!"

D'Souza, 57, a caustic critic of former president Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, was fined $30,000 and sentenced in September 2014 to five years of probation for illegal campaign contributions.

The Republican pundit pleaded guilty to attempting to donate $20,000 to a Senate campaign through straw donors by offering to reimburse associates who sent in the money.

D'Souza also personally contributed $10,000 to the campaign of Republican Wendy Long, who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in New York in 2012.

At the time, the legal limit for an individual to contribution was $5,000.

Then-US attorney Preet Bharara accused D'Souza following his sentencing of "wilfully undermining the integrity of the campaign finance process."

D'Souza is a best-selling author of several books on politics and the influence of religion on American society.

His films "2016: Obama's America" and "Hillary's America" were popular with conservative groups.

Before pleading guilty, D'Souza insisted on his innocence and claimed he was targeted for federal prosecution because of his anti-Obama views.

Federal judge Richard Berman dismissed the bias claims as completely unfounded.

"The defendant's claim of selective prosecution, legally speaking, is all hat, no cattle," he said.

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