Vindicated by a presidential pardon, D’Souza spars with Bharara on Twitter

Conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign donations in a case prosecuted by Indian American Preet Bharara, who was then US attorney of the southern district of New York.

world Updated: Jun 01, 2018 23:57 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Dinesh D’Souza,Preet Bharara,Donald Trump
A file photo of conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza. (AFP File Photo)

Feeling vindicated by a presidential pardon, conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza launched an attack on fellow Indian American Preet Bharara, who led the prosecution of his case.

D’Souza was granted a full pardon by President Donald Trump on Thursday for his 2014 conviction of illegal campaign funding. Thanking Trump in a tweet, D’Souza said, “(Former president Barack) Obama and his stooges tried to extinguish my American dream and destroy my faith in America. Thank you to President @realDonaldTrump for fully restoring both!”

He saved his harshest comments for Bharara, focussing on him in multiple tweets since the pardon announcement — from accusing him of trying to destroy a fellow Indian American to humiliating Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested in New York in 2013.

He wrote in a post on Twitter on Thursday: “KARMA IS A BITCH DEPT: @PreetBharara wanted to destroy a fellow Indian American to advance his career. Then he got fired & I got pardoned.”

D’Souza pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign donations in a case prosecuted by Bharara, who was then US attorney of the southern district of New York.

Bharara was fired by Trump in 2017 along with a bunch of US attorneys appointed by President Obama.

Bharara may have set him off with a tweet of his own on Thursday in which he had contested President Trump’s observation that D’Souza had been treated “unfairly.” Bharara pointed out that D’Souza had “voluntarily pled guilty”.

Not so, D’Souza fired back: “Bharara & his goons bludgeoned me into the plea by threatening to add a second redundant charge carrying a prison term of FIVE YEARS.”

D’Souza had pled guilty after the court rejected his argument that he had been targeted selectively. He was sentenced to five years of probation, including a stay of eight months in a community confinement centre.

His conviction barred him from voting, among other things, which stands overturned now.

D’Souza, who came to the US as student from Mumbai, deployed shared links with India to sharpen his attacks on Bharara.

And on Friday, he slammed the former prosecutor, whose family came from Punjab, for the “way he degraded and humiliated a female Indian diplomat.”

The reference was to the arrest of Indian foreign service officer Devyani Khobragade in New York in 2013 that had plunged ties between India and US to their lowest point in recent years.

She had been arrested soon after she had dropped her children to school and she was strip-searched in custody, which the US had described as a standard procedure. Bharara was the lead prosecutor in that case too.

First Published: Jun 01, 2018 23:57 IST