NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A conservative scholar and filmmaker pleaded guilty Tuesday in New York federal court to making illegal campaign contributions.

Dinesh D’Souza admitted to getting two close associates to make $10,000 contributions to Wendy Long.

A prosecutor said it was done with the understanding that he would reimburse them for their contributions, which he did soon afterward.

Long was a Republican candidate who lost the New York Senate race in 2012 to Democrat incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

She was prepared to testify against D’Souza regarding the contributions, a prosecutor said. She had told federal investigators that D’Souza lied to her about the source of donations made to her campaign, a prosecutor had said in January.

His plea came the day his trial was to begin. The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 10 to 16 months in prison.

D’Souza, who made the anti-President Barack Obama documentary “2016: Obama’s America,” said he knew what he did was wrong and illegal and that he deeply regrets it.

D’Souza is a former policy analyst under President Ronald Reagan. “2016: Obama’s America” was condemned by critics before it became one of the most successful political documentaries ever released, grossing more than $32 million.

In October 2012, D’Souza resigned as head of an the King’s College, a small evangelical college in Lower Manhattan, after becoming engaged to a woman while still married to his wife.

D’Souza is set to be sentenced on Sept. 23.

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