By Victoria Kim
LOS ANGELES: A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced the filmmaker behind Innocence of Muslims, the anti-Islam film that sparked rioting across the globe, to a year behind bars after the man admitted to violating the terms of his release from an earlier conviction.
Mark Basseley Youssef admitted to four violations, including lying to his probation officer and using bogus names. In exchange, prosecutors dropped four other counts, including allegations that Youssef lied in saying that his role in the film’s production was limited to writing the script. Youssef was under a type of federal probation — known as supervised release — after being convicted in 2010 of bank and credit-card fraud, in which he was accused of causing $800,000 in losses.
Through an attorney, Youssef, who previously changed his name from Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and who also has gone by the name Sam Basile, asked that he be allowed to serve the sentence in home confinement.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale objected, saying the man’s record of fraud and deception made the violations particularly serious. He said actors and actresses who answered his casting calls were victimized when he dubbed the film with controversial dialogue that wasn’t in the script. Members of the cast contacted the probation office, saying they were receiving death threats, Dugdale said.
U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder denied the request for home confinement and sentenced the man to one year in prison followed by four years of supervised release.