Dinesh D’Souza, the director of the controversial hit documentary “2016: Obama’s America,” pleaded not guilty to charges of campaign finance violations at a federal court in New York on Friday, TheWrap has learned.
D’Souza, who also wrote and narrated the conservative film, was released on $500,000 bail after a hearing in U.S. District Court in New York, the U.S. District Attorney’s office said. As part of the bond agreement, D’Souza had to surrender his passport and is restricted to travel within the lower 48 states.
The film, “2016: Obama’s America,” was a surprising smash hit when it was released in the summer of 2012, right before the presidential election. In its first weekend of wide release, the right-wing documentary, which takes a critical look at President Obama’s record, significantly outperformed all of the premieres in per-screen average.
D’Souza faces up to seven years in jail — two for allegedly contributing $20,000 to a 2012 Senate campaign — four times the amount allowed for an individual — and five for supposedly providing misleading and false documents to the Federal Elections Commission by hiding those contributions under other peoples’ names.