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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

'Innocence of Muslims' Filmmaker Heads to Prison

Filmmaker sentenced to one year in prison for violating the terms of his probation.

His 14-minute video - the "Innocence of Muslims" - resulted in civil unrest and protests across the Islamic world when it was posted to YouTube in September, forcing him into hiding.

A Pakistani government official offered a $100,000 bounty for whoever kills him.

But what will send the California man to prison for one year? Lying about his identity while on probation.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder sentenced Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, to a year in prison after he admitted to four counts of using false identities. Basseley was charged with eight probation violations, but prosecutors halved the allegations after Youssef agreed to an admission. He faced up to two years for the eight probation violations.

Youssef's probation originates in a 2010 bank fraud conviction. Prosecutors said he was operating a check fraud scheme involving a dozen aliases and 60 separate bank accounts.

After serving more than half of his 21-month prison sentence, Youssef was placed on probation and ineligible to use computers or the Internet for five years. He also was not permitted to use any other name but his true legal name - unless approved by a probation officer. In the wake of the posting of "Innocence of Muslims," Youssef had been associated with other names including Sam Bacile and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

Authorities said they consider Youssef the filmmaker behind the "Innocence of Muslims," but have not confirmed if he posted the video online - which would also violate the terms of his probation.

After serving 12 months in prison, Youseff will remain under supervised release for an additional four years. In exchange for the admission on the four false identity allegations, Youssef agreed to disclose the details of his finances to prosecutors, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale.


'Innocence of Muslims' Creator Denies Violating Probation'

'Innocence of Muslims' Director Arrested

Judge Denies Request to Remove 'Innocence of Muslims' Trailer


Come on, Matt. Every news outlet has reported this film was NOT what "resulted" in civil unrest and protests. Do a little reporting!

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