During the arraignment hearing, D'Souza's defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman said his client's conduct as alleged in the indictment brought by Bharara cannot be deemed as criminal. "It's an unusual case," Brafman told US District Judge Richard Berman. "I don't think there's much dispute as to what happened, but why it happened and whether it violated federal election law."
"There was no 'quid pro quo' in this case," Brafman said, adding that D'Souza "did not act with any corrupt or criminal intent whatsoever. At worse, this was an act of misguided friendship by D'Souza." Assistant US Attorney Carrie Cohen said D'Souza had arranged for two individuals and their spouses to contribute a total of $20,000 in August 2012 to Long's campaign.
D'Souza had later reimbursed the donors, Cohen said. According to US laws, a person can donate a maximum amount of $5,000 to a political candidate, with up to $2,500 allowed for primary campaigns and $2,500 for general election campaigns.
During the plea hearing, prosecutors for the first time identified the Senate candidate as Long, the Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. Long had not been identified in the indictment. (PTI)