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Dinesh D'Souza Pleads Not Guilty to Violating Federal Election Laws

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza pleaded not guilty Friday to violating federal election laws by recruiting straw donors to Wendy Long's unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand.

Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman said there's no dispute about the facts but he does dispute there was criminal intent when D'Souza instructed two people, one who worked for him and one who lived with him, to donate $10,000 each to Long's general election campaign.

Prosecutors said he promised to reimburse the contributors and made good on the promise as soon as the checks were cut. Prosecutors also said Friday he lied to Long about the source of the money.

D'Souza was released on a half-million dollar personal recognizance bond and put on restricted travel. The next court date on the matter is scheduled for March 4.

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