Conservative author and Obama critic Dinesh D'Souza has been sentenced to eight months in a community confinement center, five years probation, one day of community service a week during that probation and ordered to pay $30,000 for breaking campaign finance law during the 2012 election.
D'Souza pleaded guilty in May to charges he arranged for straw donors to contribute to New York Republican Wendy Long's failed U.S. Senate bid.
"It was a crazy idea, it was a bad idea," D'Souza told Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan before sentencing, according to Reuters. "I regret breaking the law."
Berman for his part did not hold back in criticizing D'Souza.
"I think I have figured out a little bit more about Mr. D'Souza," Berman said. "He's a talker. In fact, he's almost a compulsive talker. I don't think he's a listener."
Berman said he thought a probationary sentence was appropriate but added: "I do think that it's important to put some teeth into the probationary period."
[sharequote align="left"]"I wish I didn't do something so bad and so stupid." -- D'Souza[/sharequote]
D'Souza seemed relieved when Berman ruled out prison. His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, patted his shoulder.
The India-born naturalized U.S. citizen said he knew Long from Dartmouth University, where she and other close friends helped him escape an identity crisis after he came to America at age 17.
D'Souza said he was initially unsupportive of Long's "longshot" effort to unseat Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand.
"I told Wendy: 'Don't do it. You have delicate wings and they're going to be clipped.'"
He said he felt bad he couldn't make appearances and do other things on her behalf as it became apparent her "campaign's a joke."
"I got the stupid idea," he said of his plan to funnel money to an unwitting Long. "I wish I didn't do something so bad and so stupid. ... I chose to help her in the worst possible way."
During the hearing, Berman showed a video of a television appearance in which D'Souza claimed he was selectively prosecuted and decided not to go to trial after Berman made rulings narrowing his legal options.
"That's nonsense. Spin is what that is," Berman said.
The judge said D'Souza's claims he was singled out for prosecution and attempts to blame Obama were more proof he "continues to deflect and minimize the significance of the crimes and his behavior."
"I'm not sure Mr. D'Souza gets it and it's hard for me to discern any personal acceptance of responsibility in this case," Berman said.
Prosecutors were seeking a prison sentence of 10 to 16 months.
D'Souza was a policy analyst under President Ronald Reagan and is a prolific author known most recently for works critical of the president. He made the 2012 the documentary "2016: Obama's America."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.