The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

'Innocence of Muslims' Filmmaker Headed to Jail for Probation Violation?

Pardon the confusion, but who is this strange man? Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. Sam Bacile, a.k.a. Abanob Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. (our personal favorite) Kritbag Difrat, legally named Mark Basseley Youssef, was arrested yesterday for allegedly violating his probation, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The 2010 conviction in question was, surprisingly enough, for bank fraud. You might remember the man with infinite names as the "filmmaker" behind the sacrilegious "Innocence of Muslims" YouTube clip that has led to protests, riots, and a lot of really angry people.

How did Nakoula manage to violate his probation? Apparently, it wasn’t for using the Internet to upload the film (Internet use is forbidden under the terms of his probation) or for reportedly deceiving actors and actresses into starring in a dubbed anti-Islam film. His probation violations stems from the investigation of the film. He told authorities that he was only involved in penning the script. Others have indicated that he was the writer, director, financier, and producer.

One actor claims he was paid via checks belonging to Abanob Basseley Nakoula. That name also appears on Nakoula’s residential lease in Cerritos. Nakoula also allegedly applied for a passport, driver’s license, and worked on the film under three other aliases.

So why do the aliases matter? Remember that Nakoula is on probation for fraud. The judge felt that he was a flight risk and danger to the community. Despite Nakoula’s attorney’s pleas, which included pointing out the large Muslim population at the local jail, Nakoula will be confined during the proceedings.

When a person is granted probation as part of their sentence, they are required to abide by certain conditions and remain out of legal trouble. Obviously, lying to police investigators is going to raise issues, as might his use of the Internet if the uploaded YouTube video can later be traced back to him. When a person violates their probation, they face a hearing to determine whether the violation did indeed occur and whether incarceration is warranted.

In Nakoula Basseley Nakoula’s case, he faces up to three years.

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