Just hours after pleading guilty in federal court Tuesday to violating campaign finance law, conservative author Dinesh D’Souza appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show for an interview.
It was a friendly affair.
“And so now, this case is resolved, for today, and the Obama administration gets to call one of its top critics a convicted felon,” Kelly said near the beginning of the segment, which led to her first question: “Is this what they wanted all along?”
“I don’t know,” D’Souza replied. “I was facing two charges, Megan. The first one was exceeding the campaign finance limits. The second one was causing the government, the election commission, to file a false report. And that second charge carried a maximum of five years in prison. So what happened is I pleaded guilty to the charge of exceeding the campaign finance limits, and the government agreed to drop the other charge.”
In court on Tuesday, D’Souza had said that he “deeply” regretted using straw donors to contribute $20,000 to the campaign of Wendy Long, a Republican attorney and old friend of D’Souza’s who in 2012 lost to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). As Kelly pointed out to D’Souza Tuesday night, there was “never really any doubt that you did it.”
“You’re defense in this case was not, ‘I didn’t do it,'” Kelly said. “It was, ‘I didn’t do it with any intent, I didn’t do it with the right requisite state of mind, and it’s selective prosecution by the government, who doesn’t go after anybody for this kind of crime, except coincidentally one of the president’s biggest critics. But the judge didn’t allow you to bring that defense.”
D’Souza agreed. He said it was “remarkable” to see the campaign finances cases that “do and don’t get pressed.” Finally, Kelly asked him: “why’d you do it?”
“My longtime friend, Wendy Long, I’ve known her for 30 years, and she was running for the Senate in New York,” D’Souza said. “Her campaign was absolutely flailing, and I wanted to help her. And so I just chose the wrong and stupid way to do it. I shouldn’t have done it. And I’m taking responsibility for it.”
Watch the whole thing here (video via Media Matters):