Author of several New York Times best selling books, the Indian-American has stirred controversy on social media for his offensive comments directed towards former President Barack Obama. Authorities said that he encouraged individuals to donate $20,000 to an unnamed political candidate - later revealed to be the New York Republican Wendy Long, who was challenging Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand for her Senate seat - which exceeded the federal campaign donation cap of $5,000.
D'Souza, a conservative filmmaker, author and speaker was sentenced in September 2014 in federal court in NY to five years of probation after he admitted making illegal contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate in NY. D'Souza, who comes from a Roman Catholic family from Goa, had launched campaign against both Obama and the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
In 2014, when he was charged with violating federal election campaign laws, D'Souza alleged that he was the victim of selective prosecution, targeted for his conservative beliefs.
Trump, who signed the paperwork formally pardoning D'Souza before announcing it on Twitter, had never met or spoken with D'Souza before this week.
"Nonetheless, he's accepted responsibility and the President believes it's appropriate that he receive a pardon after community service, paying a fine, and doing other things that the judge has required", Shah said.
A 1983 graduate of Dartmouth, D'Souza served as a policy analyst for the late President Ronald Reagan and as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Trump was an executive producer on a TV spinoff of his own program called "Martha Stewart: The Apprentice" starring Stewart.
The surprise pardon comes as the the Trump administration pushes criminal justice reform.
The conservative punditocracy was swift to portray D'Souza's indictment as an exercise in political persecution.
Experts say Trump's pardon instead looks like a message to Michael Cohen, who is also being investigated for campaign finance fraud. "Enjoy the fun use of the words "boy" and "ghetto" in reference to a black man. Join in-post your own racist D'Souza tweet with the hashtag #racistpardon", Prady encouraged his followers. The prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, was an Obama appointee.
Last month, Trump also pardoned Scooter Libby, a former aide to vice president Dick Cheney who was prosecuted by Fitzgerald for lying to investigators and obstruction of justice. Most pardons are merciful.