Anti-Islam film producer headed back to court

California man behind film that stoked violent protests heads for probation violation hearing for previous bank fraud conviction.

By REUTERS
October 10, 2012 12:20
2 minute read.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula linked to anti-Islam film

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

LOS ANGELES - A California man behind an anti-Islam film that stoked violent protests in the Muslim world was due in court in Los Angeles on Wednesday for a hearing on whether he violated his probation on a bank fraud conviction and should be sent back to prison.

The Egyptian-born man, known publicly as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, has been in federal custody since late last month and was due to appear before a US district court judge under his legal name, Mark Basseley Youssef, court papers showed.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


A crudely made 13-minute video attributed to Youssef was filmed in California and circulated online under several titles including "Innocence of Muslims." It portrays the Prophet Mohammad as a fool and a sexual deviant.

The clip sparked a torrent of anti-American unrest in Egypt, Libya and dozens of other Muslim countries last month. The violence coincided with an attack on US diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya.

US authorities, as outrage against the film mounted, said they were not investigating the film itself. But prosecutors have said they could seek to have Youssef, 55, sent back to prison for up to two years if he is found to have violated his probation.

Under the terms of his release from prison last year, Youssef is barred from using aliases without the permission of a probation officer and was restricted from accessing the Internet. He is facing eight possible probation violations, including the use of aliases, prosecutors said.

"It will be interesting to see what the judge does and what the reaction is around the world," said Stan Goldman, a Loyola Law School professor.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Goldman said attorneys for Youssef could argue the terms of his 2011 release from prison in the bank fraud case did not apply directly to his recent activities, in which people associated with the film have said he misrepresented himself.

"It's not exactly like an armed robber on probation, getting caught with an automatic weapon in his possession. It's a little more technical," Goldman said.

Youssef was ordered held without bail last month following a brief hearing in which prosecutors accused him of violating probation, and he has since been held at a high-rise federal jail in downtown Los Angeles.

The defendant, who had worked in the gas station industry and most recently lived in a suburb of Los Angeles, declared at the outset of his last hearing that he had changed his name to Mark Basseley Youssef in 2002.

While previous court documents referred to him as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the latest court papers give his name as Youssef.

The probation issues were the latest of Youssef's legal woes. An actress who says she was duped into appearing in the anti-Islam film has sued him over the matter, identifying him as the film's producer. Cindy Lee Garcia also named YouTube and its parent company Google Inc as defendants in the case.

Google has refused to remove the film from YouTube, despite pressure from the White House and others to take it down, though the company has blocked the trailer in Egypt, Libya and other Muslim countries.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Protesters with painted faces pray in Cambodia
November 16, 2018
U.N.-Cambodia convicts two ex-Khmer Rouge leaders of genocide

By REUTERS