Mysterious man behind anti-Muslim film to appear in court
October 10, 2012
Mark Basseley Youssef, who claims to have written the script for the movie “Innocence of Muslims” in the Lompoc Federal Correctional Institute while serving a sentence for bank fraud, faces eight probation violations, including lying to his probation officer and using aliases.
Youssef, a 55-year-old Egyptian-born Christian living in Cerritos, is widely known as Nakoula Bassley Nakoula, his legal name until 2002. Following the publishing of a trailer of the film on Youtube, many people also believed Youssef went by Sam Bacile, the name on the account that posted the video.
When the trailer became viral on Youtube, Youssef went into hiding briefly before authorities detained him on probation violation charges. Though Youssef may not use computers or the Internet without approval from his probation officer, prosecutors said none of the probation violation charges involve the Internet.
Youssef has been in a federal detention center since Sept. 28 after a judge deemed him a flight risk. Last month the Pakistani Taliban offered a $100,000 bounty for killing Youssef. Wednesday a religious cleric in Afghanistan offered a $300,000 bounty Wednesday to anyone who kills the filmmaker.
During the investigation into the bank fraud case that landed Youssef in the Lompoc prison, Youssef cooperated with investigators and served as a federal informant. In June 2011, authorities released him from a halfway house, and he began production of the anti-Muslim film shortly after.