Amistad to star Friday in 'Crossbones' on NBC

The state-funded replica of the cargo schooner Amistad is expected to make its television debut at 10 p.m. Friday with the premiere of "Crossbones," an NBC series about Blackbeard, the notorious 18th-century Caribbean pirate.

The Amistad spent this past winter in Puerto Rico filming the series, which stars John Malkovich as Blackbeard. The filming earned about $250,000 for the organization. Amistad America Executive Director Hanifa Washington did not respond to email this weekend about the show.

The Amistad, which is now based in Maine, is slated to be in Connecticut this summer, stopping in New London, where in 1839 the Amistad slaves first came ashore, from July 11-13 and Sept. 12-14.

Meanwhile state officials continue to work on an audit to determine how former Amistad America executive director Greg Belanger spent $9 million in state funding. The organization, which continues to receive state funding, lost its nonprofit status after failing to file three years of tax returns and still owes debts to various businesses.

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