Another twist in the federal campaign finance case against the conservative author Dinesh D’Souza: prosecutors in the case are relying on a secret recording made by the husband of a woman who has been romantically involved with D’Souza.
The woman, Denise Joseph, was one of the two alleged straw donors D’Souza used to funnel $20,000 to the Senate campaign of Republican Wendy Long, who challenged Sen. Kirsten Gillbrand (D-NY) in 2012. The donations led to D’Souza’s indictment in January on one count of making contributions of more than $10,000 in the names of others and one count of causing false statements. D’Souza has since maintained his innocence.
With D’Souza’s trial a few weeks away, The New York Times reported Tuesday on a dispute that has played out in court papers over whether the case was politically motivated. D’Souza’s attorney has argued that his client was “targeted … because of his consistently caustic and highly publicized criticism” of President Obama. Federal prosecutors have called the idea “entirely without merit,” and have argued that D’Souza knew what he was doing was wrong.
According to the Times, prosecutors have also said that they have obtained a secret recording made independently last October by Joseph’s husband. Joseph was “recorded as saying that Mr. D’Souza had told her that if he were charged he might plead guilty, but would initially plead not guilty because that ‘gives him a window of opportunity to get his story out there,'” according to the Times.
D’Souza’s relationship status has been murky for some time. In October 2012, after news of his relationship with Joseph became public, D’Souza said that he and his wife, Dixie D’Souza, had filed for divorce. But the Times on Tuesday referred to D’Souza’s wife in the present tense, and described Joseph as “a woman Mr. D’Souza was involved with romantically around the time of the donations.” In an interview with Business Insider in March, D’Souza “declined to answer a question about whether he was currently married to either woman.”