The filmmakers behind Dinesh D'Souza's upcoming doc have vowed to press on while their star defends himself after his indictment on federal charges that he violated campaign finance laws in 2012. On Sunday, they released a trailer for the movie, America, that is set for release on July 4.
America is the follow-up to the surprise hit 2016: Obama's America, which earned $33 million in 2012 and became the second most popular political documentary in history, behind Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, which earned $119 million in 2004.
In America, D'Souza -- who wrote and produced the film -- makes the claim that 1960s radical leftism is more or less indistinguishable from current mainstream liberalism, a doctrine that he says preaches the United States is the product of "stealing and plunder" from Native Americans, Mexicans and African American slaves.
"I want to take this progressive, leftist critique head on," D'Souza says in the trailer. The movie will include recreations of some of the major events in American history.
America is directed by John Sullivan and co-produced by Gray Frederickson, who won an Oscar for producing The Godfather Part II and Gerald Molen, who won an Oscar for Schindler's List. D'Souza directed 2016: Obama's America.
D'Souza was arraigned Friday in New York on charges he made illegal contributions to the campaign of Wendy Long, a friend who ran unsuccessfully for Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate seat in 2012. The crime carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. He's also charged with making statements to the Federal Election Commission, a crime punishable for up to five years in prison.
D'Souza was released on a $500,000 bond on Friday. He was asked to surrender his passport and agree to certain travel restrictions.
D'Souza's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, says D'Souza "did not act with any corrupt or criminal intent," and Molen says the charge against D'Souza could be an act of political retribution for 2016, a critical look at President Barack Obama, or an effort to stymie his next film, which is due four months before midterm elections.
"When American citizens begin to suspect that people are being arrested for alleged minor violations because of their vocal dissent against their elected representatives or rulers, it breeds disrespect and contempt for the law and suspicion of those officials," Molen told The Hollywood Reporter. "If this unfortunate action against Dinesh is intended to deter the release of his upcoming film, America, that effort will fail."