The Cerritos-based filmmaker linked to the anti-Islam film that sparked deadly protests in the Muslim world went before a Los Angeles judge Wednesday afternoon and denied eight allegations that he violated his federal probation in a bank fraud case.
Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, who previously used the name Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, told U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder that he did not use various aliases or make false statements last month to the officer overseeing his court-ordered probation in the 2010 case.
Youssef appeared in Snyder's downtown Los Angeles courtroom on Oct. 10 under tight security, shackled at the waist and wearing a white jumpsuit signifying he is under protective custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center adjacent to the courthouse.
Placed under oath, Youssef answered "deny" eight times when Snyder asked him to respond to the allegations, which include lying to the probation officer about his role in the making of the controversial 13-minute "Innocence of Muslims" film clip.
Federal prosecutors allege Youssef lied when he told his probation officer that his role in the film was limited to scriptwriter.
In one other matter, Youssef's attorney, Steve Seiden, asked the judge to order his client taken out of protective custody and placed in the general population at the federal jail.
Referring to heated reactions to the film clip, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale argued that it would be "unwise" to move Youssef at this point, and the judge agreed.
At the conclusion of the short proceeding, Snyder set an evidentiary hearing for Nov. 9.
The terms of Youssef's 2011 release from prison in the fraud case do not allow him to use aliases without the prior written authorization of his probation officer.
A federal magistrate judge last month ordered him held without bail, deeming him a flight risk and a danger to the community. "The court has a lack of trust in this defendant," U.S. Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said then.
Before he was arrested, Youssef had been in hiding since violence erupted in response to a YouTube trailer for his film "Innocence of Muslims," -- also known as "Desert Warrior" -- which portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and child abuser.
Protests ignited by the video broke out last month -- first in Egypt, then Libya, then throughout the Muslim world, including Pakistan, and dozens were killed in the unrest.
The video initially was blamed for an attack in Benghazi that killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans on Sept. 11, but U.S. government officials have since blamed their deaths on an act of terrorism on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror strikes.
Youssef pleaded no contest in 2010 to bank fraud charges for using phony Social Security numbers to open bank and credit card accounts, according to court documents. He was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without prior authorization.
During the previous court hearing, Dugdale said Youssef's use of such aliases as "Sam Bacile" is "part of a lengthy pattern of deception."
The prosecutor also said "there was real harm done in this case," referring to the release of the "Innocence of Muslims" clip, but federal officials say Youssef was not arrested because of the film.
Federal probation officers have recommended that Youssef be sentenced to a two-year prison term, prosecutors said.
- Fred Shuster of City News Service
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Click here to watch Patch video of Nakoula B. Nakuola being escorted from his Cerritos residence.
Also previously on Patch:
- Cerritos-Based Anti-Muslim Filmmaker to Appear in Court Wednesday
- UPDATED: Cerritos Man Linked to Anti-Muslim Film Arrested for Allegedly Violating Probation
- Nakoula Family Leaves Cerritos Home In Darkness With Plans Never to Return
- Cerritos Home Tied to Maker of Anti-Islamist Film
- WATCH: Worldwide Media Attention Prompts Cerritos Sheriff's to Monitor Controversial Filmmaker's Home
- World's Eyes Glued to Cerritos Residence as Anti-Islam Filmmaker Remains in Hiding
- Attorneys Consult With Nakoula Inside His Cerritos Home
- WATCH: Cerritos Sheriff's Deputies Escort Embattled Anti-Islam Filmmaker Out of Home Saturday
- PHOTO GALLERY: Cerritos Resident Linked to Anti-Islamic Film Leaves His Home
- Coptic Christians in the Bay Area React to Anti-Muslim Film