Dinesh D’Souza, conservative filmmaker and director of upcoming documentary “America,” entered an unexpected guilty plea Tuesday to a charge that he hid $20,000 in campaign donations to a 2012 Senate campaign.
The plea came on what was supposed to be the first day of D’Souza’s trial in federal court in Manhattan. The director had previously pled not guilty to the charges when the indictment was handed down in January.
As part of the agreement, D’Souza faces a reduced maximum jail sentence of 10-16 months and a fine of up to $30,000 for contributing four times the amount an individual is allowed to make to a single campaign in a calendar year. The second charge, that alleged D’Souza made false statements to the Federal Election Commission, was dropped.
D’Souza made the contributions to the campaign of Wendy Long — the Republican Senate candidate who ran unsuccessfully against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012 — both in his own name and hidden under the names of other donors.
“America,” which D’Souza wrote and directed, is slated for a July 4 release.