The conservative filmmaker behind a hit anti-Obama documentary was indicted Thursday night on charges he violated federal campaign laws, in what a close colleague is calling a “selective prosecution.”
Dinesh D’Souza, whose “2016: Obama’s America” is the second-highest grossing political documentary of all time, will appear in U.S. District Court in New York Friday.
The indictment states the 52-year-old best-selling author and activist will be charged with one count of illegally donating to a Senate campaign and one count of causing false statements to be made to authorities in connection with the contributions
The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, accuses D’Souza of “willfully and knowingly” surpassing the $5,000 limit for individual campaign donations by directing others to donate to the campaign of Wendy Long, who unsuccessfully challenged New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. According to the document, D’Souza and his then-wife, Dixie, each contributed $5,000 to Long’s campaign, and he reimbursed others for $20,000 he had encouraged them to donate.
The indictment is just the latest in a tangle of personal and professional difficulties that swarmed around D’Souza at what was arguably the height of his success: the popularity of his 2012 anti-Obama documentary 2016: Obama’s America. The film, which was released in the summer of 2012 and became a slow-burn hit with conservatives in the run-up to the presidential election, earned over $33 million at the box office and was the highest-grossing documentary since 1982. But just a couple of months into the film’s promotion, D’Souza was out of a job: he resigned his lucrative position as president of the King’s College, a small evangelical Christian school in Manhattan, over repost hat he was engaged to a 29-year-old woman while still being married to his wife of 20 years.