Man behind anti-Islam film gets year in prison

Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 10:00am

An Egyptian-American man behind the inflammatory film "Innocence of Muslims" on Wednesday was sentenced to one year in federal prison after admitting to violating the terms of his probation from a 2010 bank fraud case.

Judge Christina Snyder also ordered that Mark Basseley Youssef serve four years of supervised release after his prison term. The sentencing came in a Los Angeles federal court after an evidentiary hearing Wednesday in which Youssef admitted using an alias, which prosecutors said violated his probation.

The amateur filmmaker from Cerritos, California, was identified in initial news accounts in September as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the name used in the bank fraud case. But the probation revocation case lists the defendant as Mark Basseley Youssef, which the filmmaker stated in court is his legal name.

Prosecutors accused Youssef of, among other things, possessing a driver's license under the Nakoula name, and using the name Sam Bacile, the name he allegedly used in making the controversial film.

Youssef garnered international attention following protests against his film throughout the Muslim world. The amateurish film portrays the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, buffoon, ruthless killer and child molester. Islam categorically forbids any depictions of Mohammed, and blasphemy is an incendiary taboo in the Muslim world.

The film was initially implicated in a violent demonstration in Libya that left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead on September 11.

U.S. officials initially said the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi and a nearby U.S. annex came as protesters outside the consulate rallied against the online video. But the Obama administration now says the incident was a terrorist attack, occurring 11 years to the day after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Protests erupted in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories when an Arabic translation of the film's trailer was released a few weeks before the anniversary of September 11.

In the bank fraud conviction, Youssef served one year in federal prison at Lompoc, California, according to probation department officials and court records. While on probation, Youssef was also prohibited from accessing computers or any device that can access the Internet without approval from his probation officer.

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CNN's Michael Martinez and Stan Wilson contributed to this report.
 

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