Dinesh D'Souza on pardon: Trump said to me, 'I've got to tell you man to man, you've been screwed'

Conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza revealed on Friday what he said President Donald Trump told him about why he was getting a pardon.

On Fox News, D'Souza said he didn't know he was going to get it. "I was just in my office working away. And an operator came on the line and said, 'Is this Dinesh D'Souza?' Yes. 'Hold the line for the president of the United States.' And there was Trump."

He said Trump said: "''You've been a great voice for freedom. I've got to tell you man to man, you've been screwed.' He goes, 'I've been looking at the case. I knew from the beginning that it was fishy.'"

D'Souza, who was convicted in 2014 of making an illegal campaign contribution, said, "[Trump] said upon reviewing it, he felt a great injustice had been done. And using his power, he was going to rectify it, sort of clear the slate. And he said he just wanted me to be out there and be a bigger voice than ever defending the principles that I believe in."

A day earlier, Trump announced on Twitter his decision to pardon D'Souza, an outspoken critic of Democratic former President Barack Obama. D'Souza was prosecuted by then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, an Obama appointee who was later fired by Trump.

D'Souza was sentenced to five years of probation. "But it still left a cloud over me. I would be a lifelong felon. I would never be able to vote and never have full rights. So I'm very grateful to President Trump for giving me those rights back."

Trump is also considering pardoning lifestyle maven Martha Stewart, who was convicted in 2004 on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements in an insider-trading investigation, and commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat convicted of corruption charges.

James Comey, whom Trump fired as FBI director last year and has repeatedly attacked, was the lead federal prosecutor in Stewart's case. Patrick Fitzgerald, a personal friend of Comey, oversaw the prosecution of Blagojevich.

Stewart and Blagojevich both were involved with Trump's "Apprentice" reality television show.

— Reuters contributed to this report.

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