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Man behind anti-Islam YouTube film arrested
Citing a lengthy pattern of deception, U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula should be held after officials said he violated his probation from a 2010 check-fraud conviction.
LOS ANGELES — Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker behind the crudely produced anti-Islamic video posted to YouTube that sparked rioting across the Muslim world, was ordered detained Thursday by a federal judge in Los Angeles for allegedly violating terms of his probation.
The judge cited a "lengthy pattern of deception," including making false statements to probation officials. "The court has a lack of trust in the defendant at this time," U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said, adding that Nakoula, who was shackled in court, posed "some danger to the community."
Nakoula had eight probation violations, including lying to his probation officers and using aliases, and he might face new charges that carry a maximum two-year prison term, authorities said.
Nakoula, 55, a Christian originally from Egypt, went into hiding after he was identified as the man behind the trailer.
When the judge asked him his true name, Nakoula said it was Mark Basseley Youseff and he had been using that name since 2002. Nakoula was convicted in 2010 of federal bank-fraud charges and sentenced to 21 months in prison. Under terms of his probation, he was not allowed to use computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.
His attorney argued that Nakoula be released on bond, saying his client would be in danger at the downtown Los Angeles federal prison because it has a large Muslim population. He also denied his client violated his probation.
Actors involved in the project have identified Nakoula as the man responsible for "Innocence of Muslims," the video that is supposedly a trailer for a full-length film. It depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a buffoon, a womanizer and a child molester. It was first uploaded to YouTube in June, and translated into Arabic and uploaded several more times leading up to the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Nakoula has not spoken publicly since the trailer, parts of which were broadcast on Egyptian TV, first set off rioting and attacks that led to the death of four Americans in Libya, including the ambassador.
On Saturday, a Pakistani Cabinet minister offered a $100,000 reward for the death of the person behind the video.
Material from The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times is included in this report.