Did Nakoula’s prison term delay production of his rubbish movie?
The California man most closely linked to the production, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was arrested June 18, 2009 on federal bank fraud charges. A year later, according to federal court documents, Nakoula, 55, was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution and sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. He was also ordered not to use computers, cell phones, or the Internet for five years unless he got an OK from a probation officer.
It appears that the now-infamous film was already in the works in the days leading up to Nakoula’s 2009 arrest. A casting call for a film called ‘Desert Warrior’ ran in Backstage magazine several times between May 21, 2009 and June 11, 2009, a week before his arrest. An actress who worked on the project, and who said she and others on the set were duped by the producer, told the website Gawker that she knew the film by the name ‘Desert Warriors.’
Federal Bureau of Prisons records show that Nakoula was released from prison on June 22, 2011. (According to The Smoking Gun, he was released from federal prison in September 2010, spent three months in a halfway house in Long Beach, Calif., left, and then apparently violated terms of his release and returned to the halfway house until June 2011.) On July 14, 2011, the ad for Desert Warrior appeared again in Backstage, slightly altered. The film was described as a ‘historical Arabian Desert adventure film,’ and a ‘Sam Bassiel’ appeared as the producer.