D’Souza pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating campaign finance laws with an illegal donation to a GOP Senate candidate.
Trump announced the pardon in a tweet, claiming D’Souza “was treated very unfairly by our government!”
Trump believes that D’Souza was “a victim of selective prosecution for violations of campaign finance laws,” according to a statement from the White House explaining the pardon.
It also noted that D’Souza “accepted responsibility for his actions, and also completed community service by teaching English to citizens and immigrants seeking citizenship.”
All of Trump’s presidential pardons have been outside the standard process for issuing pardons run by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Pardon Attorney.
He pardoned a former Navy sailor, Kristian Saucier, after Saucier made his case on Trump’s favorite TV network, Fox News.
In August, Trump pardoned right-wing, anti-immigrant sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was found guilty for criminal contempt after violating a federal judge’s order instructing him to stop racially profiling Latino drivers, whom he and his office regularly rounded up because he suspected them of being undocumented immigrants.
The president also issued a pardon for Scooter Libby, who was convicted for lying and obstructing justice after the leak of then-covert CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity.
Last week, the president issued a posthumous pardon to boxing champion Jack Johnson, which came at the recommendation of actor Sylvester Stallone.
A DOJ spokeswoman confirmed to HuffPost that D’Souza’s pardon did not go through the Office of the Pardon Attorney. She declined to comment further.
Also on Thursday, Trump said on Air Force One that he’s considering issuing pardons or commuting sentences for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and cook and TV personality Martha Stewart. Blagojevich was on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” TV series, and Stewart hosted “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” a spinoff of Trump’s “The Apprentice” series.
D’Souza is famous for his right-wing conspiratorial documentaries, as well as a long history of offensive comments, from smearing the survivors of the Parkland school shooting earlier this year to regularly making racist remarks about President Barack Obama.
Later Thursday, D’Souza thanked Trump for the pardon and criticized “Obama and his stooges.”
This post has been updated with more information about Trump’s pardons and a response from a Department of Justice spokeswoman.