WASHINGTON — An Obama administration critic pardoned by Donald Trump said Friday that the president told him he was being cleared because the campaign finance charges filed against him were “fishy.”

Trump pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative author and filmmaker, on Thursday and announced he’s thinking about clemency for Martha Stewart, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, among “lots” of other people.

D’Souza said he was surprised when he got a call at his office from the president.

“The president said ‘Dinesh, you’ve been a great voice for freedom. I got to tell you man-to-man you’ve been screwed,’ ” D’Souza told “Fox & Friends” in an interview.

Conservatives rallied around D’Souza, saying he had been singled out in a politically motivated prosecution by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department. D’Souza was sentenced to five years’ probation in 2014 after pleading guilty to violating federal election law by making illegal contributions to a U.S. Senate campaign in the names of others.

D’Souza claimed his conviction was politically motivated because Obama was angry over a movie he had made about him. D’Souza, who spent eight months in a halfway house in San Diego, said he was grateful he is no longer labeled a felon and can vote again.

It was the latest example of Trump using his presidential pardon power to right a perceived wrong. The move makes it ever clearer that, in the Trump administration, the odds of a pardon are better for those with a celebrity backer, those who have become a cause celebre among conservatives and those with a reality TV connection.

Trump has been particularly drawn to cases where he believes there was a political motivation to the prosecutions – a situation that may remind him of his own predicament at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling, which he insists is nothing but a “witch hunt.”

Watchdog groups criticized D’Souza’s pardon, saying it signaled contempt for the rule of law.

“Donald Trump has sent a message to his friends and cronies that if you break laws to protect him or attack our democracy, he’s got your back,” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice.

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