September 28, 2012 in Nation/World

Anti-Muslim filmmaker held in jail

Nakoula offered no bail; judge cites ‘lack of trust’
Greg Risling Associated Press
 

LOS ANGELES – A federal judge on Thursday determined a California man behind a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that inflamed parts of the Middle East is a flight risk and ordered him detained.

Citing a lengthy pattern of deception, U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula should be held after officials said he violated his probation from a 2010 check fraud conviction.

“The court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time,” Segal said.

Nakoula had eight probation violations, including lying to his probation officers and using aliases, and he might face new charges that carry a maximum two-year prison term, authorities said.

After his 2010 conviction, Nakoula was sentenced to 21 months in prison and was barred from using computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.

In July, a 14-minute trailer for the film “Innocence of Muslims” was posted on YouTube, leading to protests around the Middle East. The trailer depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, religious fraud and child molester.

Nakoula, a Christian originally from Egypt, went into hiding after he was identified as the man behind the trailer.

In court Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale said Nakoula was a flight risk, partially because of the uproar over the film. The violence in the Middle East broke out Sept. 11 and has spread since, killing dozens.

“He has every incentive to disappear,” Dugdale said.

The balding Nakoula, 55, was handcuffed and shackled in court.

The hearing had an unusual wrinkle as the news media were banned from the courtroom where Nakoula was appearing, and reporters had to watch the proceedings on a TV in a different courthouse a couple blocks away. Court officials didn’t give a reason for the decision.

© Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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