Benjamin Brafman

Dinesh D’Souza pleaded guilty to a charge related to illegal campaign contributions in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday. D’Souza, a conservative commentator, Reagan White House policy adviser, and Christian apologist, is widely known for his documentary film 2016: Obama’s America. D’Souza faces up to sixteen months in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for September 23.

The case involved D’Souza’s use of “straw donors” when his own campaign contributions reached their legal limit. He encouraged two people close to him to each donate to the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign of his friend, Wendy Long. D’Souza promised to reimburse them for the donations. According to a press release by the Department of Justice, “Later that same day or the next day, D’SOUZA, as promised, reimbursed the Straw Donors $10,000 each in cash for the contributions.”

D’Souza’s defenders and critics can apparently agree on several points:

(1) D’Souza committed the crime.
(2) D’Souza committed the crime in an astonishingly ham-fisted way. (There’s nothing sly about handing over cash the day after a conversation like that. D’Souza might as well have delivered the money in a box marked “Campaign Finance Law Violation.”)
(3) The government is making an example of him.

What each side means by “making an example of him” is what makes this case more interesting . . . .

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Helping a bride make her wedding is about the best ‘Mitzvah’ a person can do.

Benjamin Brafman, the prominent criminal defense attorney (for stars like Michael Jackson, Sean Combs, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn), describing his decision to pen a $5,000 check to help a couple fighting to get their deposit back after booking a South Street Seaport venue damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Brafman wrote the check to the couple he’d never met after reading about them in the New York Post, proving it’s not always bad news to find your name in the Post.

I’m sure that somewhere there is a gang of civil rights activists and defense attorneys saying, “So, we’re only going to talk about this if it happens to a rich European?” But hey, let’s not dwell on why the perp walk is suddenly generating some controversy, and instead embrace the fact that people are willing to talk about it at all.

As you may have heard, IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in Manhattan over the weekend on sex crime charges. As is customary in this country, Strauss-Kahn was paraded before the news media in handcuffs (see picture; feel free to point, stare, laugh, as is traditional).

This common American practice is illegal in France. Under French law, the media is not allowed to show pictures of people in handcuffs unless they’ve been convicted of a crime. Apparently, the French believe that such pictures are highly prejudicial to the defendant.

We’re not so much worried about that in America….

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If you’re like me, two of your last three Sunday night sports orgies have been ruined by the intrusion of real world events. First, Osama bin Laden lost the ultimate game of Call of Duty. Then last night Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and would-be president of France, was pulled off of a plane at JFK and arrested for a sex crime. And in the middle of those two world events, Mother’s Day happened.

(Note to NFL owners: this is the kind of crap that’ll be happening in the fall if you guys refuse to let people play football.)

As world events go, this is pretty big. Think about it: we’ve got the head of one of the five most powerful NGOs in the world, the leader of the Socialist party, a sex scandal, a super-fancy hotel, a maid, and an alleged escape attempt thwarted at JFK — and this has nothing to do with Bill Clinton! I mean come on, if you found out that the Lannisters were involved, would you be surprised?

And on the legal front, we’re talking about an important and respected international figure who just got denied bail.

Excuse me, I need to get my popcorn out of the microwave….

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