The man who tried to send Dinesh D’Souza to jail for a campaign finance violation is being listed as among the leading candidates to be nominated by President Barack Obama to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder.
Numerous news outlets have named Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, as a possible replacement for Holder.
Listing Bharara as a top contender to replace Holder, Politico’s Playbook said Friday that the pick “would be a way for Obama to soothe the restless left” because of “his aggressive Wall Street prosecutions.”
Writing for Bloomberg/BusinessWeek, Dave Weigel ranks Bharara as the most likely candidate to be nominated by Obama to be the next attorney general.
“The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York would be the first Indian American attorney general (one of the few big ‘firsts’ left for the job, if that matters), and otherwise bring little change to the Obama administration,” Weigel writes. “Bharara has disappointed progressives who wanted him to bring cases against the people who caused the housing crisis, but he’s been covered by New York media as a Wall Street fraud-buster.”
When he wasn’t targeting Wall Street, Bharara was overseeing the prosecution of conservative author and documentarian Dinesh D’Souza. Back in May, D’Souza pleaded guilty to reimbursing associates of $20,000 they donated to his college friend’s 2012 long-shot Senate campaign, in violation of campaign finance laws.
The government asked the judge to send D’Souza to prison for 10-to-16 months for the crime. On Tuesday, just days before it was announced that Holder was stepping down, the judge sentenced D’Souza to five years’ probation and eight months in a “community confinement center.”
Many supporters of D’Souza view the prosecution as politically motivated given D’Souza’s record as one of President Obama’s most prominent critics. Speaking to The Daily Caller Wednesday, D’Souza brought up Bharara’s name while noting that he, too, had his “suspicions” that he was “singled out” by the government for political reasons. (RELATED: D’Souza Opens Up About Obama, The Ordeal Of Planning For Prison And Whether He Will Run For Office)
“It’s impossible to trace because the head of the corruption unit in New York, the Southern District, is this Indian guy Preet Bharara. And he is a former — he used to work for [Democratic New York Sen.] Chuck Schumer,” D’Souza said. “And if you go online there is a picture of him with Eric Holder. His reputation is one of being a cautious but ambitious man.”
“People tell me different things,” D’Souza went on, explaining whether he thought his prosecution was politically motivated. “I mean, I’ve talked to Judge Andrew Napolitano about it and I’ve talked to Harvard civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz. These are people a little closer to the process than I am. And the general word I get from people like that is it is unlikely that the government of New York would have proceeded without at least a tacit OK if not an outright signal from the Holder Justice Department.”
But, D’Souza conceded, “I don’t as a matter of fact know how this is being driven.”
“All I know is that you have a U.S. government, and it is the federal government because it is the federal court system, and they are pushing very aggressively with uncharacteristic ruthlessness and zeal to ensure that I get not just a prison term but a substantial prison term, and they are willing to do all kinds of tactics, including bending the legal case law in order to try to convince the judge to do that,” he said.
For his part, Bharara has denied that D’Souza’s prosecution had anything to do with politics.
Nevertheless, if Bharara does get the nod from Obama to be the next attorney general, you can expect his nomination to only fuel the suspicions and conspiracy theories that already surround D’Souza’s case.
D’Souza told TheDC Friday via email that he didn’t have any comment on Bharara’s possible promotion.