Man behind anti-Islam film gets year in prison
Mark Basseley Youssef appeared in a federal courtroom last month.
November 7th, 2012
08:45 PM ET

Man behind anti-Islam film gets year in prison

[Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET] An Egyptian-American man behind the inflammatory film "Innocence of Muslims" on Wednesday was sentenced to one year in federal prison after admitting to violating the terms of his probation from a 2010 bank fraud case.

Mark Basseley Youssef also was ordered to serve four years of supervised release after his prison term. The sentencing by Judge Christina Snyder came in a Los Angeles federal court after a hearing Wednesday in which Youssef admitted using an alias, which prosecutors said violated his probation.

The amateur filmmaker from Cerritos, California, was identified in initial news accounts in September as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the name used in the bank fraud case. But the probation revocation case lists the defendant as Mark Basseley Youssef, which the filmmaker stated in court is his legal name.

In a plea deal, Youssef admitted to using a name other than his legal one; possessing a driver's license under the Nakoula name; possessing a fraudulent driver's license; and falsely telling his probation officer last month that he hadn't used the name of Sam Bacile, a name he allegedly used in making the controversial film.

While on probation, Youssef was prohibited from using any other name without consent of his probation officer.

Youssef's attorney, Steven Seiden, told reporters Wednesday that his client pleaded guilty in part because he wanted to save all parties the expense of going to trial. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss four other charges.

Youssef garnered international attention following protests against the "Innocence of Muslims" film throughout the Muslim world. The amateurish film portrays the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, buffoon, ruthless killer and child molester. Islam categorically forbids any depictions of Mohammed, and blasphemy is an incendiary taboo in the Muslim world.

The film was initially implicated in a violent demonstration in Libya that left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead on September 11.

U.S. officials initially said the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi and a nearby U.S. annex came as protesters outside the consulate rallied against the online video. But the Obama administration now says the incident was a terrorist attack, occurring 11 years to the day after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Still, the film, backed by hardcore anti-Islam groups in the United States, prompted protests in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories when an Arabic translation of the film's trailer was released online a few weeks before the anniversary of September 11.

Youssef had been on probation since being released from federal prison in June 2011 after serving 21 months in the bank fraud case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale said in court Wednesday that the new sentence was appropriate, asserting Youssef's use of aliases was part of "a long-running pattern of deception," and that the film's actors and actresses "had no idea he was a recently released felon."

Cast and crew members have said they didn't know that they were shooting a film having anything to do with Islam or the Prophet Mohammed. The prophet's name was dubbed in after the film was shot, some of them have said.

Seiden said Wednesday that Youssef admits to being the film's writer, and that he might also have been a "cultural consultant" on the film.

soundoff (380 Responses)
  1. bubye

    I do not think he will make it out

    November 8, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Rallin

      I totally agree.. not with islam rampant in our prisons..

      November 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      "Islam rampant in our prisons" You mean like , "evangelicalism is rampant in the South"?

      November 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jay

    Reality Checker...Please don't confuse them with the facts.
    Their minds are already made up.
    If they chose to believe some one falsely went to jail fo making a inflamatory be it.
    BUT the court records say otherwise.
    He can appeal his conviction...It's a legal right. (In this country anyway...not like some others LOL)

    November 8, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Rallin

      He was FIRST arrested under the guise of "for his own protection", and then charged with this sham bs.. sad day for freedom and america.. bend over for islam.

      November 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • coyoteliberty

      Don't kid yourself. Look at the actual violations that he was charged with. Had he not done something that honked off the boys in power, these "complaints" would have been dealt with administratively and he would likely have gotten nothing worse than a stern talking to by his parole officer. He was sent to prison to send a message to the Muslim nations, that push come to shove Barack "The future does not belong to those who insult Mohammed" Obama has their back. Never mind that this "great religion" is routinely used as an excuse to strip people of the very human rights that Obama just got re-elected promising he was somehow the champion of....

      November 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cedar rapids

    where in the article did it say cnn is proud this man went to jail?

    November 8, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mary Jane

    Get out soon and make another video your last one was great!!!

    November 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • iNDIAN111

      Another Storm like sandy will hit us.

      November 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glow

      Ha ha ha – you guys get a life

      November 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. john

    Never cross will go to jail.

    November 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rallin

      He's called barakh "hussein" obama for a reason.. he bows before the saudi rulers.

      November 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeah yeah


      He's called barakh "hussein" obama for a reason.. he bows before the saudi rulers.

      your confused your thinking of the Bush clan you ninny

      November 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sly

    Heh heh heh ... the TeaBillies lost bigtime, so now they've found another hero.

    What is it with these Republicans that they never met a bank swindler they didn't like.

    Bush loved the Banker Crooks so much he gave them $7 trillion of my tax dollars.

    Let's see those tears, TeaBillies ... we are loving every moment of your misery.

    November 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Garvin

      I am surpised you are missing Judge Mathis and Cops to write this well stated opinion. By the way, I believe the prepaid cell phone van is near your trailer.

      November 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeah yeah

      "Fred Garvin

      I am surpised you are missing Judge Mathis and Cops to write this well stated opinion. By the way, I believe the prepaid cell phone van is near your trailer."

      You mad bro? HAHAHAHA

      November 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • coyoteliberty

      sort of Like Marc Rich? You remember him, right? The international financier, swindler and Democratic party swindler who was pardoned by that well regarded Republican, Bill Clinton?

      November 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      have one name for u liberals,,,,,charlie rangle ever heard of him and u blast rep...boy u libs keep drinking the kool aid for obama

      November 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • sly

      Yum ... this is some delicious Kool-Aid, and I suspect I'll be sippin' it for the next 12 years.

      By the way, calling someone a TeaBillie is not calling anyone 'names' – that's what they call themselves.

      And what's all the anger againest Muslims on here? If I'm not mistaken, it is America that has killed over 2 million people since 1965 ...

      November 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rallin

    Sad day for all Americans, when we bend over for Islam.. Way to go Barakh Hussain Obama

    November 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. USACommentor

    This is really an attempt by our government to show the Muslim world that we prosecuted the individual responsible for the movie. The charges are BS. We can show the world pictures of this guy being led away in shackles. Keep in mind that we are heading down a path of treating Islam differently than other religions. A duragatory comment directed at Christians or Jews is viewed as Free Speech and tolerated as it should be. Don't look at this as how it looks to us, think about how it looks to the world. We are setting a precedence.

    November 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeah yeah

      Try reading the article again

      November 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • iNDIAN111

      Wake up Buddy! Are you from Mars...READ THIS and SEARCH GOOGLE
      "David Irving, the discredited historian and Nazi apologist, was last night starting a three-year prison sentence in Vienna for denying the Holocaust and the gas chambers of Auschwitz."

      November 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • iNDIAN111

      Show mw one example where any Muslim or Muslim country Insulted JESUS P.B.U.H

      November 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. L. Jane

    Deport him-NOW!

    November 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. phearis

    Yeah, he only committed Bank Fraud and Violated Parole!
    *rolls eyes*

    November 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. coyoteliberty

    Asserting to your rights under the first amendment have now been determined to be a criminal act, it seems. The concept of a "false flag" action now enters the criminal justice lexicon.

    November 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Felons have diminished rights. Do you want them to all own guns as well? The terms of his release dictated that he not use an alias, and he violated those terms. Did you not read the article, or are you just living in your own reality? This man is a liar and a thief. He should never have been released in the first place

      November 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Taskmaster

    Oh my we can't offend the muslim s. Well the muslims are an offence to the world in general. But we should not interfere with muslims outside the U.S.. Muslims do to good a job killing muslims. Keep the arab spring going and keep up the good work.

    November 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. guestwhohatesthisguy

    one of my good friends is muslim you wanna call him a womaniseing a s s too

    November 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bukoo

    We can't see his face, I wonder if the Muslims in the place he's going will see his face. If they do find out who he is, he may never return to society. A reminder to us all that we have to think about how the actions we take will affect others, as well as how those actions will affect ourselves and our loved ones.

    November 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. snooper

    Funny how people who have NOT seen the video are against him. We have a black piece of crap in the WH and no one is mad. What happened to free speech? You will all get yours. Wait till Osama gets going, and we are a socialist country. A lot of Liberals will be happy then. All I want is to IMPEACH the joker.

    November 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glow

      RACIST and Childish!

      November 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality Checker

      You have been brainwashed to hate. Who did that to you? That paranoid hate must feel so very good to you, because you've been programmed to think and feel it.

      Don't be a robot. Use critical thinking to make your own decisions.

      Avoid IDIOCRACY!

      November 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • sly

      President Obama is white, so I'm not sure what your problem is.

      But, you better get used to our President, and be prepared for 8 years of President Clinton after that.

      "Turn out the lights ... the parties over ..."

      November 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
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