Man behind anti-Muslim film denies violating his probation

  • This courtroom sketch shows Nakoula Basseley Nakoula talking with his attorney Steven Seiden, left, in court Thursday Sept. 27, 2012. The U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal on Thursday determined the California man behind a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that inflamed parts of the Middle East is a flight risk and ordered him detained. (AP Photo/Mona Shafer Edwards)This courtroom sketch shows Nakoula Basseley Nakoula talking with his attorney Steven Seiden, left, in court Thursday Sept. 27, 2012. The U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal on Thursday determined the California man behind a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that inflamed parts of the Middle East is a flight risk and ordered him detained. (AP Photo/Mona Shafer Edwards)
  • A religious figure, shoes and a newspaper lie at the steps of the suburban Los Angeles home believed to be that of filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. Federal authorities have identified Nakoula, a self-described Coptic Christian, as the key figure behind "Innocence of Muslims," a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Middle East. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)A religious figure, shoes and a newspaper lie at the steps of the suburban Los Angeles home believed to be that of filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. Federal authorities have identified Nakoula, a self-described Coptic Christian, as the key figure behind "Innocence of Muslims," a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Middle East. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
  • U.S. marshals block the street as agents drive away in a vehicle believed to be carrying Nakoula Basseley Nakoula after his arraignment in federal court in Los Angeles Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. A federal judge on Thursday ordered Nakoula, the man behind a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that inflamed parts of the Middle East to be detained because he is a flight risk and violated terms of his probation. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)U.S. marshals block the street as agents drive away in a vehicle believed to be carrying Nakoula Basseley Nakoula after his arraignment in federal court in Los Angeles Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. A federal judge on Thursday ordered Nakoula, the man behind a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that inflamed parts of the Middle East to be detained because he is a flight risk and violated terms of his probation. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
  • A U.S. Federal marshal, right, prepare to transport Nakoula Basseley Nakoula after his arraignment in federal court in Los Angeles Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. A federal judge on Thursday ordered Nakoula, the man behind a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that inflamed parts of the Middle East to be detained because he is a flight risk and for violating terms of his probation. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)A U.S. Federal marshal, right, prepare to transport Nakoula Basseley Nakoula after his arraignment in federal court in Los Angeles Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. A federal judge on Thursday ordered Nakoula, the man behind a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that inflamed parts of the Middle East to be detained because he is a flight risk and for violating terms of his probation. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
  • ** FILE ** Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man behind the anti-Muslim movie that inflamed the Middle East, is escorted by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies from his home early on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Cerritos, Calif. (AP Photo/CBS2-KCAL9) ** FILE ** Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man behind the anti-Muslim movie that inflamed the Middle East, is escorted by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies from his home early on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Cerritos, Calif. (AP Photo/CBS2-KCAL9)
Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California man who was behind an anti-Muslim film that sparked violence in the Middle East denied on Wednesday he violated his probation stemming from a 2010 bank fraud conviction.

U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder scheduled an evidentiary hearing for Nov. 9 for Mark Basseley Youssef.

Youssef, 55, has been in a federal detention center since Sept. 28 after he was arrested for eight probation violations and deemed a flight risk by another judge. Prosecutors said Youssef lied to his probation officers about his real name and used aliases.

Youssef fled his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos and went into hiding when violence erupted in Egypt on Sept. 11 over a 14-minute trailer of “Innocence of Muslims” that was posted on YouTube. The trailer depicts Mohammad as a religious fraud, womanizer and pedophile.

The violence spread, killing dozens, and enraged Muslims have demanded severe punishment for Youssef, with a Pakistani cabinet minister offering $100,000 to anyone who kills him.

“My client was not the cause of the violence in the Middle East,” attorney Steven Seiden said after Wednesday’s hearing. “Clearly, it was pre-planned and it was just an excuse and a trigger point to have more violence.”

Federal authorities have stressed that Youssef was taken into custody for probation violations and not because of the content of the film, which is protected by the First Amendment.

Youssef, a Christian originally from Egypt, was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 21 months in prison. After he was freed, he was barred from using computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer. He also wasn’t supposed to use any name other than his true legal name without the prior written approval of his probation officer.

At least three names have been associated with Youssef since the film trailer surfaced – Sam Bacile, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and Youssef.

Court documents show Youssef legally changed his name from Nakoula in 2002, but he never told federal authorities while he was being prosecuted for check fraud. Orange County Superior Court documents show he wanted the change because he believed Nakoula sounded like a girl’s name.

Youssef sought a passport in his new name but still had a California driver’s license as Nakoula, authorities said.

Authorities said Youssef used more than a dozen aliases and opened about 60 bank accounts and had more than 600 credit and debit cards to conduct the check fraud scheme.

Bacile was the name attached to the YouTube account that posted the video.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks