Man behind anti-Islam film to return to jail for a year

Thu Nov 8, 2012 2:37am GMT
 

By Brandon Lowrey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The convicted California scam artist behind a crude anti-Islam film that stoked protests against the United States across the Muslim world was sent back to jail for a year on Wednesday over probation violations stemming from his role in the video.

In a tightly guarded federal courtroom in Los Angeles, Mark Basseley Youssef admitted to using aliases and lying to his probation officer, breaching the terms of his supervised release from prison this year after serving time for bank fraud.

Youssef, an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian and former gasoline station owner identified in some public records by his birth name, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, has been in protective custody since his arrest in September, his lawyer said.

At least one violation Youssef acknowledged involved his using the alias Sam Bacile, a name several actors and others from the film said he had used in producing the Internet video. It was circulated under several titles, including "Innocence of Muslims."

In addition to a year in jail, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder ordered Youssef placed on four years of supervised release once he got out.

The 13-minute clip attributed to Youssef, 55, portrays the Prophet Mohammad as a fool and a sexual deviant, although cast members have said they were duped into appearing in a film they believed was an adventure drama called "Desert Warrior."

After the fact, actors said they learned that some of their lines spoken in the production had been dubbed over.

At least one actress has sued Youssef, claiming her image and reputation were harmed and her safety was put in jeopardy, citing a religious edict she said an Egyptian cleric had issued against anyone connected with the movie.   Continued...

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (C) is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California September 15, 2012. REUTERS/Bret Hartman
 
Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.