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Alleged anti-Islam filmmaker back in court, new name

11 october 2012, 16:45
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The alleged filmmaker behind the video that sparked violent protests across the Muslim world is due to appear in court again on Wednesday in a separate case, AFP reports citing officials.

They gave an amended name for him. Mark Basseley Youssef -- who previously went by the name Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, among other pseudonyms -- will appear in court in Los Angeles under tight security.

Amid fears for his safety, media and the public will only be able to watch proceedings via videoconference from a separate building, as was the case when he first appeared in court last month.

The 55-year-old faces charges of breaching the terms of his probation for a 2010 banking fraud conviction, and will face a preliminary probation-revocation hearing before US District Judge Christina Snyder.

Youssef, the alleged filmmaker behind "Innocence of Muslims," faces eight charges of violating his probation, including making false statements and using at least three aliases.

Probation officers have recommended that Youssef be jailed for two years, according to prosecutors.

Given the protests the film has sparked, he may be safer in prison than out.

Last month Judge Suzanne Segal ruled that the alleged filmmaker, who has been in hiding since protests erupted over his film, should be detained without bond, saying he was a flight risk and a danger to the community.

"The court has a lack of trust in this defendant," she said at the earlier court hearing on September 27.

Youssef -- allegedly the real identity behind the pseudonym Sam Bacile, listed as the director of "Innocence of Muslims" -- was briefly taken into custody earlier in September for questioning by his probation officer.

He was traced to a home address in Cerritos, south of Los Angeles, after international protests erupted against the 14-minute trailer video posted online.

The film depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a thuggish deviant offended many Muslims, and sparked a wave of anti-American protests that have cost several lives and saw mobs set US missions, schools and businesses ablaze.

In February 2009, a federal indictment accused Nakoula and others of fraudulently obtaining the identities and Social Security numbers of customers at several Wells Fargo branches in California and withdrawing $860 from them.

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