Before going into hiding, Nakoula acknowledged to the AP that he was involved with the film, but said he only worked on logistics and management.
When the judge asked him during Thursday’s hearing what his true name was, Nakoula said his name was Mark Basseley Youseff. He said he’d been using that name since 2002.
Some of the false statements in Nakoula’s alleged probation violations had to do with the film, Dugdale said. Nakoula claimed his role was just writing the script, and denied going by the name Sam Bacile in connection with the film, Dugdale said.
None of the violations relate to using the Internet, Dugdale said.
Lawrence Rosenthal, a constitutional and criminal law professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, said it was “highly unusual” for a judge to order immediate detention on a probation violation for a nonviolent crime, but if there were questions about Nakoula’s identity it was more likely.
“When the prosecution doesn’t really know who they’re dealing with, it’s much easier to talk about flight,” Rosenthal said. “I’ve prosecuted individuals who’d never given a real address. You don’t know who you’re dealing with, and you’re just going to have very limited confidence about their ability to show up in court.”
A film permit listed Media for Christ, a Los Angeles-area charity run by other Egyptian Christians, as the production company for “Innocence of Muslims.” Most of the film was made at the charity’s headquarters. Steve Klein, an insurance agent in Hemet and outspoken Muslim critic, has said he was a consultant and promoter for the film.
The trailer still can be found on YouTube. The Obama administration asked Google, YouTube’s parent, to take down the video. But the company has refused, saying the trailer didn’t violate its content standards.
Nakoula has put his home up for sale, disconnected his phones and gone into hiding since violence erupted over the film.
Enraged Muslims have demanded punishment for Nakoula, and a Pakistani cabinet minister has offered a $100,000 bounty to anyone who kills him.
First Amendment advocates have defended Nakoula’s right to make the film while condemning its content. And federal officials likely will face criticism from those who say Nakoula’s free speech rights were trampled by his arrest on a probation violation.
Meanwhile, a number of actors and workers on the film have come forward to say they were tricked. They say they were hired for a film titled “Desert Warrior” and there was no mention of Islam or Muhammad in the script. Those references were dubbed in after filming was completed.
Actress Cindy Lee Garcia has sued to get the trailer taken down, saying she was duped.
Associated Press writer Gillian Flaccus contributed to this report.