The filmmaker responsible for an anti-Muslim video that triggered violence in the Islamic world is being held on alleged probation violations and could be sentenced to as much as three years in federal prison, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Probation authorities are seeking a 24-month sentence for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, whose clip “Innocence of Muslims” sparked protests that may have led to the deaths of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other people in a rocket attack in Libya. It was unclear whether the attack, which took place Sept. 11, was related to the movie although it took place amid protests against the film.
Nakoula was arrested Thursday and ordered to be returned to jail. “The hearing occurred amid high security, with the public only allowed to watch through a video feed in a separate courthouse blocks away,” the story reports. “Before his arrest Thursday, Nakoula and his family had been in hiding, and his attorney said he had received threats to his safety.”
His detainment was ordered by Magistrate Judge Suzanne H. Segal, who cited a “lengthy pattern of deception” by Nakoula and said he poses “some danger to the community.”
“Nakoula, who was on supervised release from a 2010 conviction for bank fraud, faces eight charges of probation violation including making false statements to authorities about the film,” the story reports. “When probation officials questioned him about the video, Nakoula allegedly claimed his role was limited to writing the script, and denied ever using the name ‘Sam Bacile’ in connection to the film, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Robert Dugdale.”
The report adds: “Dugdale said there is evidence Nakoula’s role in making ‘Innocence of Muslims’ was ‘much more expansive’ than penning the script. Prosecutors said Nakoula could face new criminal charges for lying to federal officials.
Dugdale said none of the violations Nakoula is accused of relate to use of the Internet, even though his probation terms specify he was not permitted to possess or use a device with access to the Internet without permission from his supervisor.”