Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano said the reason Trump "correctly" said D'Souza was treated "unfairly" is that "historically this has not been treated as a criminal prosecution".
D'Souza pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws in 2014.
"Dinesh D'Souza was convicted of one of the crimes Michael Cohen is under investigation for, campaign finance fraud", Joyce Vance, a former US attorney, tweeted.
Many who violate such laws do not face prosecution or are handed a slap on the wrist. He's also a prominent Christian activist; he used to be the president of a Christian college but resigned after he became engaged to one woman while still married to another. His probation and community service were set to expire in October 2019.
The government said in court papers that D'Souza faced overwhelming evidence of guilt and "now seizes upon the fact that he is an outspoken critic of the Obama administration as an excuse to avoid the consequences of his actions". He began attacking the Left - and Obama in particular - when he saw its cultural threat to that tradition.
Trump's pardon of D'Souza, who codirected the 2016 political documentary Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, comes out of the blue. "We can't afford to wait to see who will be next", Underwood said.
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Some conservatives complained of selective prosecution against D'Souza.
The Washington Times editorial board remarked on a double standard at play.
"Dinesh D'Souza, who did a very big movie criticizing the president, is now being prosecuted by this Administration", he said.
For comparison, at the same point in their presidencies, "former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had not issued any pardons", Rascoe writes. No one was threatened with prison for that.
Preet Bharara, who brought charges against D'Souza when he was US Attorney for the Southern District of NY, asserted that there was no unfairness in the case. "This is disturbing news, not only because it would undermine public confidence in the rule of law, but also because-due to a little-known feature of NY law that appears to be unique in its reach-a strategically-timed pardon could prevent individuals who may have violated our State's laws from standing trial in our courts as well".