The surrounding mystery of the man behind the crudely produced anti-Islamic video that sparked violence in the Middle East took a strange turn after he appeared in court and gave yet another name in a string of aliases.
Arrested on Thursday after authorities said he violated his probation from a 2010 check fraud conviction, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula told a judge his real name was Mark Basseley Youseff. He said he’d been using that name since 2002, even though he went by Nakoula in his fraud case.
The full story about Nakoula and the video “Innocence of Muslims” still isn’t known more than two weeks after violence erupted in Egypt and Libya, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed in Benghazi. Violence related to the film has since spread, killing dozens more.
Citing a lengthy pattern of deception and the potential to flee,U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segalordered Nakoula to remain in prison without bond until another judge can hold a hearing to determine if he broke the terms of his probation.
“The court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time,” Segal said.
Prosecutors noted Nakoula had eight probation violations, including lying to his probation officers and using aliases. He could face new charges that carry a maximum two-year prison term.
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, though prosecutors said none of the violations involved the Internet. He also wasn’t supposed to use any name other than his true legal name without the prior written approval of his probation officer.
Three names, however, have been associated with Nakoula this month alone.
The movie was made last year by a man who called himself Sam Bacile. After the violence erupted, a man who identified himself as Bacile spoke to media outlets including The Associated Press, took credit for the film and said it was meant to portray the truth about Muhammad and Islam, which he called a cancer.
The next day, the AP determined there was no Bacile and linked the identity to Nakoula, a former gas station owner with a drug conviction and a history of using aliases. Federal authorities later confirmed there was no Bacile and that Nakoula was behind the movie.
Some of the false statements in Nakoula’s alleged probation violations had to do with the film, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale said. Nakoula told probation officials his role was just writing the script, and denied going by the name Sam Bacile in connection with the film, Dugdale said.
Before going into hiding, Nakoula acknowledged to the AP that he was involved with the film, but said he only worked on logistics and management.
Nakoula, a Christian originally from Egypt, then went into hiding after he was identified as the man behind the trailer, which depicts Muhammad as a womanizer, religious fraud and child molester. He met with federal probation officials two weeks ago, led out of his home in suburban Cerritos in the middle of the night, flanked by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and cloaked in heavy clothing to protect his identity.
The public got their first good look at Nakoula on Thursday, although the news media was banned from the courtroom and reporters had to watch the proceedings on a TV in a nearby courthouse.
Nakoula wore beige pants and a collared shirt when he was led into the courtroom handcuffed and shackled. He appeared relaxed, smiling at one point before the hearing and conferring with his attorney.
Nakoula’s attorney Steven Seiden sought to have the hearing closed and his client released on $10,000 bail. He argued Nakoula has checked in with his probation officer frequently and made no attempts to leave Southern California.
Seiden was concerned that Nakoula would be in danger in federal prison because of Muslim inmates, but prosecutors said he likely would be placed in protective custody.
Lawrence Rosenthal, a constitutional and criminal law professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, said it was “highly unusual” for a judge to order immediate detention on a probation violation for a nonviolent crime, but if there were questions about Nakoula’s identity it was more likely.
“When the prosecution doesn’t really know who they’re dealing with, it’s much easier to talk about flight,” Rosenthal said. “I’ve prosecuted individuals who’d never given a real address. You don’t know who you’re dealing with, and you’re just going to have very limited confidence about their ability to show up in court.”
Enraged Muslims have demanded punishment for Nakoula, and a Pakistani cabinet minister has offered a $100,000 bounty to anyone who kills him.
First Amendment advocates have defended Nakoula’s right to make the film while condemning its content. And federal officials likely will face criticism from those who say Nakoula’s free speech rights were trampled by his arrest on a probation violation.
In arguing that Nakoula is a possible flight risk, Dugdale said Nakoula couldn’t even reveal something as fundamental as his real name.
“He’s a person who simply can’t be trusted,” he said.
Source: Associated Press
US Election: Trump Claims Victory Hours After Saying Biden Won
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has declared himself the winner of the US Election 2020.
President Trump declared himself the winner of the US election in a tweet on Monday morning, November 16 by simply tweeting: “I won the election.”
I WON THE ELECTION!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2020
This came hours after he tweeted that his opponent Joe Biden “won because the election was rigged.”
He won because the Election was Rigged. NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more! https://t.co/Exb3C1mAPg
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020
The latest vote tallies project Democratic candidate, Biden a clear winner in the state-by-state Electoral College that decides the presidency, with 306 votes against Trump’s 232.
However, President Trump has remained defiant, continuously claiming he won the election free and fair.
Former Ghana President, Jerry Rawlings Is Dead
Jerry Rawlings, a former Ghanaian president has reportedly died from suspected COVID-19 complications.
The former Ghanaian leader died at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, capital of Ghana on Thursday morning.
Rawlings led the country first as a military ruler and then as a democratically elected president between 1981 and 2001.
Rawlings initially rose to power in Ghana as a flight lieutenant in the Ghana Air Force, following a coup détat in 1979.
After initially handing power over to a civilian government, he took control again in December 1981 as Head of State.
He was re-elected in 1996 for four more years.
Rawlings left office in 2000 after exhausting Ghana’s constitutional term-limit of eight years for Presidents.
US Election Is Far From Over — Trump
Shortly after Biden was projected winner, Trump in a defiant statement expressed that the election was “far from over” and criticised Biden for “rushing to falsely pose as the winner.”
“Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor.
“Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media.
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.
“The American people are entitled to an honest election, that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots,” Trump said.
- Entertainment10 hours ago
Faithia Williams Condoles Iyabo Ojo Over Mother’s Death
- National News15 hours ago
NLC, TUC Stage Walk Out From Meeting With FG
- National News13 hours ago
CCB Invitation: Magu Can’t Access Assets’ Documents, Says Lawyer
- Entertainment11 hours ago
“It’s Different And Classy” – Cardi B Praises Erica’s Fashion Style
- News Feed9 hours ago
Iyabo Ojo Finds Out Her Mum Lied About Her Age (Video)
- Metro News14 hours ago
Cult Violence: Wike Imposes Two-Week Curfew Around Okoro-Nu-Odu
- National News14 hours ago
Saraki Reacts To Kidnap, Killing Of Worshippers In Zamfara Mosque
- Entertainment6 hours ago
Cossy Orjiakor Replies Fans Who Criticized Her For Wearing A Racy Outfit While Preaching About God