The producer of the controversial anti-Islam film The Innocence Of Muslims will stay in jail after he denied under oath in U.S. District Court today that he violated the terms of his probation. Judge Christina Snyder ruled in a downtown LA courtroom that Mark Basseley Youssef, aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, will remain in custody, and she set a November 9 hearing in which the U.S. Attorney will be asked to prove Youssef broke the terms of his probation on a 2009 bank fraud conviction by making and uploading the film’s 14-minute trailer onto YouTube. That action last month set off a chain of violent and deadly protests in the Muslim world.
Youssef went into hiding amid the outrage and was arrested September 27 on eight counts of probation violations. He has been in custody ever since. His attorney Steven Seiden today called the arrest an “excuse” to jail Youssef, saying after the hearing that “my client is not the cause of the violence in the Middle East.”
Asked specifically by Snyder during the brief hearing if he had falsely represented himself, his name and the full extent of his involvement in the making of Muslims, Youssef denied all of it. Youssef, who wore a white jumpsuit and handcuffs in the heavily secured courtroom, denied he told his probation officer that his involvement in the film was limited to writing the script, and that he went by the name of Sam Bacile or any variations of the alias during the making of the movie. Actors who worked on the film have described Youssef as producer and financier, and others involved in the production have referred to Bacile as the name the producer gave himself during the course of making the movie.