‘Innocence of Muslims’ filmmaker jailed for a year for probation violations

By Daniel S Levine,

Mark Basseley Youssef, the man behind the controversial Innocence of Muslims trailer that sparked riots around the Muslim world, has been sentenced to a year in jail after admitting four probation violations.

Youssef was jailed in late September and had initially denied violating any of the terms of his parole stemming from a 2010 bank fraud conviction. However, The Los Angeles Times reports that he has since admitted to four violations, including lying to his parole officer and using fake names. Prosecutors agreed to drop four other counts against him, including lying about his role in the film.

Prosecutors were initially looking for a three-year sentence before striking the deal, reports The Associated Press.

His attorney asked the federal judge during Wednesday’s hearing to let him serve the sentence at home, but assistant U.S. Atty. Robert Dugdale argued against that.

“This is not a defendant that you want out there using multiple names,” Dugdale said.

After the Innocence of Muslims trailer went viral and sparked riots, several names, including Sam Bacile and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, were associated with Youssef in the media. While Bacile is the name attached to the YouTube profile that posted the video, authorities still are not sure if he was the one who posted it.

During the hearing, Dugdale continued to stress that the actors and crew involved with making the film had no idea about Youssef’s final intent, which was to insult the prophet Muhammad. Youssef had dubbed new dialogue over what the actors actually said during filming.

“They had no idea he was a recently released felon,” Dugdale said. “Had they known that, they might have had second thoughts.”

Steven Seiden, Youssef’s attorney, told the media after the hearing that his client had just one message, “The one thing he wanted me to tell all of you is President Obama may have gotten Osama bin Laden, but he didn't kill the ideology.”

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