On Wednesday, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula aka Mark Basseley Youssef, the maker of the anti-Islam YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims,” pleaded guilty to charges of violating his probation imposed in 2010 following a conviction of bank fraud. He was sentenced to one year in jail for breaking the terms of his parole. The government dropped all other probation violation charges that were related to his work on the “Innocence of Muslims.”
Nakoula was arrested by the authorities in September and was held without bail. He was kept in protective custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center for his safety, in the wake of Muslim religious leaders from Afghanistan and Pakistan having offered bounties for his head.
Robert Dugdale, the assistant United States attorney did not pursue charges directly related to the “Innocence of Muslims” video but he mentioned the fraud perpetrated in creating the video. The prosecutor pointed out during the sentencing argument that Nakoula had used another alias Sam Bacile to make the film, and had deceived the cast about his intentions.
He had told the people making the movie that it was an epic about a murderous tribal leader named George. Later, by using dubbing techniques, he turned the central character to represent Prophet Muhammad. The prosecutor observed, “That’s a substantial fraud … His deception actually caused real harm to people.”
Nakoula’s depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as a violent savage sparked protests and reactionary violence from Egypt to Pakistan last year. The American Embassy in Ben Ghazi, Libya, was attacked, the U.S. Ambassador and several U.S. security died from the attack.
ABC News reported that it had obtained records that Nakoula had also been convicted in the 1990s of intent to manufacture methamphetamine. Later he progressed to bank fraud, to which he pled guilty in 2010, and went off to prison for 21 months, where he allegedly wrote and finished the script for his next progress into movie fraud.
However, prosecutors made it clear that he was not at court for the content of the movie. When one prosecutor specified the point saying, “he’s not here because of the content of the movie,” the Judge said, “agreed.”