‘Innocence of Muslims’ filmmaker denies probation violations
The filmmaker behind “Innocence of Muslims,” the video that has caused unrest across the Muslim world, denied allegations Wednesday that he had violated the terms of his supervised release.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who in 2002 legally changed his name to Mark Basseley Youssef, was read the eight counts of violating the terms stemming from his 2010 conviction for bank and credit card fraud by U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder.
Nakoula faces allegations that he lied to his probation officers about using aliases and telling them that his role in the film’s production was limited to writing the script. He is also accused of using aliases on court documents and possessing a driver’s license under a false name.
Dressed in a white prison jumpsuit and chained and handcuffed at the waist, Nakoula replied “Deny” after the judge read each charge. Snyder set an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Nakoula was in violation of his probation for Nov. 9.
Prosecutors have said in court that probation officials are asking that he be returned to prison for a two-year term.
Nakoula’s attorney, Steven Seiden, asked Snyder to order his client moved out of protective custody and into the general population at the downtown L.A. federal lockup where he is being held without bail, but did not give a reason.
Snyder said she did not have the authority to direct the Bureau of Prisons on how he is to be housed.
Outside court, Seiden told reporters that his client had been unfairly blamed for sparking violence across the globe.
“My client was not the cause of the violence in the Middle East,” he said. “Clearly it was pre-planned.”
A trailer for the film uploaded on YouTube outraged Muslims around the world and has become the centerpiece of a debate over the clash between free speech and hate speech. The film depicts the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and child molester.
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