Anti-Islam Filmmaker Sentenced To Prison For Probation Violations
LOS ANGELES (AP/CBS) – The California filmmaker behind a controversial anti-Muslim film was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday for probation violations in connection with a 2010 bank fraud conviction.
In a plea deal, Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, admitted to four of the eight alleged violations, which included obtaining a fraudulent California driver’s license, lying to his probation officer, and using up to eight different names.
Prosecutors agreed to drop the other four allegations.
Youssef, however, was ordered to four years’ probation and must be honest about his identity.
Youssef’s attorney said the proceedings were a result of serious and lengthy negotiations with the government.
“My opinion is that the government used these proceedings to chill my client’s first amendment rights. It clearly was that all along,” said Steve Seiden.
None of the probation violations had to do with “Innocence of Muslims,” the film that depicted Mohammad as a religious fraud.
Youssef was arrested in September weeks after he fled his home in Cerritos over security concerns.
Outrage over the movie was initially blamed for causing deadly violence throughout the Middle East.
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