'Innocence of Muslims' Producer Sentence to One Year in Jail
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man behind controversial movie "Innocence of Muslims", gets one year in prison after admitting to violating his probation stemming from a 2010 bank fraud conviction. He will be placed on supervision for four years upon his release.
Although none of his charges were directly connected to the content of the anti-Islam film that caused protests against America in the Muslim countries across the globe, they were actually stemming from his role as a producer in the making of the movie.
Nakoula, whose legal name is Mark Basseley Youssef, uses Sam Bacile as an alias to produce the movie. He is also accused of obtaining a California driver's license under the name and falsely telling probation officers that he's only a script writer of the movie, nothing more.
He admitted to four violations, including the use of aliases, and four others were dismissed. His lawyer asked that he be permitted to serve the sentence in home confinement, but assistant U.S. Atty. Robert Dugdale objected to the request.
"This is not a defendant that you want out there using multiple names," Dugdale said as quoted by Los Angeles Times, noting that he had a passport under one name and a driver's license under another, and worked on the film under a third identity.
Dughale additionally said that cast members of the movie suffered the consequences of Nakoula's action to dub the film with dialogue that wasn't in the script. They were tricked into believing that the movie was an adventure drama called "Desert Warrior".
The actors and actresses complained to the probation office that they were getting death threats and their careers were ruined due to the controversial content. Nakoula's attorney, however, insisted the cast had signed releases and cited the right of any filmmaker to alter his/her film.
In 2010, Nakoula was convicted on four counts of bank fraud and identity theft that caused $800,000 in losses. He was sentenced to serve 21 months in jail and was released in June 2011. He was banned from using computers and Internet during the probation.
He was arrested in September this year amidst the "Innocence of Muslims" controversy for probation violations. He was held without bond.
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