Let’s understand that what D’Souza did – essentially finding some friends to act as straw donors so that he could funnel $10,000 to his friend Wendy Long as she ran a long-shot campaign for the Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand instead of the $5200 he was legally limited to donate to her – is a fairly clear violation of federal campaign finance law.
It’s also anything but unprecedented. There are folks across the country who did exactly what D’Souza did and who got hit with nothing more than fines.
D’Souza was prosecuted to the hilt, and actually had to live in a halfway house in San Diego for several months as a result.
And yesterday, when his case was supposed to be all but disposed of, D’Souza instead now has to undergo four more years of psychiatric counseling despite two separate shrinks who said there is nothing wrong with him.
D’Souza’s defense counsel Benjamin Brafman provided evidence to the court that the psychiatrist D’Souza was ordered to see found no indication of depression or reason for medication. In addition, the psychologist D’Souza subsequently consulted provided a written statement concluding there was no need to continue the consultation, because D’Souza was psychologically normal and well adjusted.
But Judge Berman, who was appointed by Bill Clinton, disagreed, effectively overruling the judgment of the two licensed psychological counselors the U.S. probation department had approved as part of D’Souza’s criminal sentence.
“I only insisted on psychological counseling as part of Mr. D’Souza’s sentence because I wanted to be helpful,” the judge explained. “I am requiring Mr. D’Souza to see a new psychological counselor and to continue the weekly psychological consultation not as part of his punishment or to be retributive.
“Helpful.” Apparently, the judge was a psych major in college, so he’s an expert. And because he can’t understand why D’Souza would want to help his Republican politician friend, D’Souza must be nuts.
Berman explained at the hearing Monday that his social-work training combined with his psychology major has made him sensitive to psychological issues in the criminal cases he hears.
“You have to understand, I have a background in social work with a psychology major,” Berman explained. “I’m sensitive to mental health issues in the criminal cases I hear, and I do not want to end psychological counseling at this time in Mr. D’Souza’s case.”
Brafman countered that it was not fair to require someone like D’Souza to continue psychological counseling as part of his sentence when the doctors D’Souza has seen so far believe he does not need to continue the psychological counseling.
“Applying your argument to white-collar crimes,” Brafman continued, “why wouldn’t all white-collar criminals need psychological counseling?”
Berman countered that 85 percent of all criminal defendants who appear before him argue they don’t need psychological counseling or drug therapy, among other rehabilitative interventions.
‘A colossal failure of introspection’
“What I’m reading in the psychological case notes is compatible with my own impressions,” Berman continued. “The psychological case notes indicate that while Mr. D’Souza is highly intelligent, he has remarkably little insight into his own motivations, that he is not introspective or insightful, but that he tends to see his own actions in an overly positive manner.
“I consider the original crime in this case is an insight issue,” Berman continued. “That Mr. D’Souza committed this crime involves a colossal failure of insight and introspection. The case notes also say Mr. D’Souza has weaknesses in controlling his own impulses and that he is prone to anger in reaction to criticism.”
The judge noted the psychologists “chart indicates Mr. D’Souza tends to deny problems, that he lacks insight into his own behavior, that he is arrogant and intolerant of the feelings of others, while projecting an overly positive image of himself.”
“Therefore, I am ordering Mr. D’Souza to continue psychological counseling with another therapist,” said Berman.
“Therapy is more of an art than a science, and a new therapist may be what is needed in this case,” he said.
Isn’t that special? Here’s a judge who says that because D’Souza isn’t particularly contrite about a legal violation – the underlying law which by the way could well constitute a limit on his Constitutionally-protected right of free speech – that he’s hardly alone in committing, he just needs to have his head shrunk by a third therapist who might crack him open and diagnose what’s wrong with him for all the public to see.
This is more than just obnoxious, it’s Orwellian. Not only do these people criminalize dissent, they characterize it as mental illness.
Dinesh D’Souza must be crazy for breaking the campaign finance laws. He especially must be crazy for doing it as a conservative.