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Calif man behind anti-Muslim film had many aliases
After his 2010 conviction, Youssef was sentenced to 21 months in prison and was barred from using computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer, though prosecutors said none of the violations involved the Internet. He also wasn’t supposed to use any name other than his true legal name without the prior written approval of his probation officer.
Orange County Superior Court documents show Nakoula was granted a name change petition in 2002 and legally became Mark Basseley Youssef. As reason for the change, he said: “Nakoula is a girl’s name and it cause me troubles.”
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.
When he was identified as Nakoula after the movie trailer went viral, federal probation officials questioned him. He denied using the name Sam Bacile, which was listed on the YouTube account that posted the trailer, and said his role in the film was limited to writing the script. Dugdale said there is evidence showing Youssef had a larger role in the film. He declined to elaborate.
Rebecca Lonergan, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law, said it’s possible federal authorities never would have pursued a probation violation case against Youssef were it not for the film.
“They don’t have enough people to go out and pick up every single violator on every single warrant, but he did something that brought him to everybody’s attention,” Lonergan said. “I think the reality is he brought this on himself.”
Associated Press writer Amy Taxin in Orange, Calif., contributed to this report.
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