Federal prosecutors are pushing for up to 16 months is prison for conservative filmmaker and activist Dinesh D'Souza after he pleaded guilty in May to a charge related to claims that he used straw donors to contribute to a Republican candidate’s campaign for a New York Senate seat in 2012.
D'Souza's legal team has argued that he admitted fault and is ashamed, asking U.S. District Judge Richard Berman to sentence him only to probation and community service. But prosecutors countered Wednesday that D'Souza, 53, should be given 10 to 16 months behind bars, Reuters reported.
"The defendant pled guilty at the last possible moment before trial began not because he actually accepted responsibility for his conduct, but because he was in fact guilty and he had no defense or excuse for his criminal conduct," said the office of Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The filmmaker, whose recent conservative documentary "America: Imagine the World Without Her" fared well at the box office, is scheduled to be sentenced by Berman on September 23.
Filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza attends the premiere of Lionsgate Films' 'America' at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on June 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
Prosecutors also took issue with the fact that D'Souza complained about the legal case after pleading guilty and argued that he was selectively targeted. These views, prosecutors said, contradicted the remorse the conservative activist expressed through his representation.
"Based on the defendant's own post-plea statements, the court should reject the defendant's claims of contrition on the eve of sentencing," officials said.
It is unclear what the court will decide, but the case, which TheBlaze previously covered extensively, has sweeping ramifications for D'Souza.
The legal battle has centered on the government's accusation that D’Souza prompted two of his friends each give $10,000 to Wendy E. Long’s 2012 campaign to try and unseat Democratic Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand.
According to the New York Times, prosecutors alleged that he planned to reimburse these individuals for their donations, which meant that he would have exceeded the $5,000 limit that each donor was allotted for the 2012 election.
By admitting guilt in May, D'Souza lost his right to vote, hold public office or possess a firearm. While prosecutors requested 10 to 16 months behind bars, he has faced up to two years in prison, three years supervised release and up to a $250,000 fine.