Last Updated:July 31 @ 12:35 pm

Man behind Muslim video changed name, in custody

By Greg Risling

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles say the man behind the anti-Islamic video that sparked violence in the Middle East will now be referred to by his true legal name.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale said Friday that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula will be now known as Mark Basseley Youssef in court records.

Court documents filed in Orange County Superior Court show he was granted a name change petition in 2002 and legally changed his name to Youssef because "Nakoula is a girl's name and it cause me troubles."

Youssef appeared in court Thursday after authorities said he violated his probation from a 2010 check fraud conviction.

Violence sparked by the film has broken out in the Middle East where at least 50 people have died in protests related to the film.

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THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The mystery surrounding the man behind the crudely produced anti-Islamic video that sparked violence in the Middle East deepened when he appeared in court and identified himself by yet another name.

Arrested on Thursday in Los Angeles 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 Youssef. He said he had been using that name since 2002, even though he went by Nakoula in his fraud case.

Court documents filed in Orange County Superior Court show he was granted a name change petition in 2002 and legally changed his name to Mark Basseley Youssef because "Nakoula is a girl's name and it cause me troubles."

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 elsewhere in the Arab world where at least 50 people have died in protests related to the film.

Citing a lengthy pattern of deception and the potential to flee, U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal ordered 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.

Nakoula came out of hiding Thursday for his court appearance, although the news media were banned from the courtroom and reporters had to watch the proceedings on a TV in a nearby courthouse. No photos were allowed.

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.


Associated Press writers Gillian Flaccus and Amy Taxin in Orange County, Calif. contributed to this report.

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  1. arwenusaComment by arwenusa
    September 28, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    But oddly, we never hear what happened to the Muslim “honor” killers in this country.

    Obviously, it’s a much more serious matter to make an uncomplimentary film than it is to murder people, depending on who’s doing what.

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    • MortComment by Mort
      October 1, 2012 @ 9:20 am

      WHEN are we going to expose and condemn the people HERE and around the world that not only have published books, made films slandering Christianity and radicals have actually KILLED CHRISTIANS? Why are muslims an exception? It’s simple- we have one in the white house and more in congress that are or are sympatizers simply to keep them in power. When we have demonstrators outside the Dem convention carrying signs that say “If Jesus were alive we would kill him again”, paraphrased. Why wasn’t that condemned? Then we have the Jews that are still being persecuted, even by Obama.
      How the Jewish Hollywood could still support the Dems just proves they surely live in LALA Land.

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    • gopluvaComment by gopluva
      October 1, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

      Thats partly due to the fact that judges uaually find in favor of the killer because its (ha ha) his religious beliefs.I wonder how michelle will like wearing a burka?

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  2. Informing ChristiansComment by Informing Christians
    September 28, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    That man should sue the federal government for the danger that they put him in. –Obama, Clinton, and Rice should be brought up on charges of treason, aiding and abetting the enemy.

    Debra J.M. Smith
    Informing Christians Writer

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    • nickster99Comment by nickster99
      September 28, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

      Its obvious your dreaming!

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    • nickster99Comment by nickster99
      September 28, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

      There’s a better chance the sun will set in the east!

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    • way2coolComment by way2cool
      September 28, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

      AND, we also know they were warned by the President of Libya 3 days before the attack. AND, we also know they President of Libya said “The attack had nothing to do with the film”…so the deaths and destruction are on the hands of obama, hillary, and rice.

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  3. gnafuComment by gnafu
    September 28, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    Knock it off! Everyone knows that it wasn’t the video that upset the terrorists. The murdering Muslim mobs were very well planned and started on 9/11 2012. My retort: Cut off all foreign aid to Muslim countries, NOW. Oil, be damned. United States has enough Natural Resources sitting in the ground and we get rid of Muslim/foreign oil. Get the refineries built and start drilling. This War on Coal **** has to stop, also. There is ‘clean coal’ out there but Obama wants thousands of Americans to lose their jobs and rely on Welfare and food stamps. No WAY! What Obama suggests is worse than Colonialism. Far worse!

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    • way2coolComment by way2cool
      September 28, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

      I’ve been ranting about the coal mines being shut down by the end of this year, 2012 and thousands of miners/jobs being lost on every post that even mentions Pennsylania. “Polls” show obama leading in that state….yet he is putting more stress on their economy and more lost jobs. What is wrong with the people of Pennsylvania?…..I ask often, get no responses. WAKE UP, Pennsylvanians.

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  4. LardoComment by Lardo
    September 28, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    I’m not condoning illegal behavior of any kind. (Including violating your probation.) But does anyone believe this man would have been arrested had he NOT made a film that offended Muslims? And/or if Obama didn’tneed some way to misdirect the attention away from his bumbling of this whole matter.

    Nakoula…Youssef…or what ever his name is, is simply a scape-goat for another Obama failure.

    But not to worry. Prissy Chrissy Matthews, and all the other kool-aide drinkers, will lap it up a usual.

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    • taliesin319Comment by taliesin319
      September 28, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

      Well since Obama is so exacting in regard to one’s proper name, maybe he should tell us the exact number of aliases he’s had in his life. Which one did he use on passport ?

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    • sexysadieComment by sexysadie
      September 28, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

      I am sure that this poor schmuck isn’t the only one who’s made an amateur video knocking the “prophet” pedophile. He just happens to have been framed by the marxist-in-chief in order to save his marxist behind. This is how far the democrap party has fallen…but, then again, they didn’t have that far to fall.

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  5. billconnerComment by billconner
    September 28, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

    Obama adminastration was awear of the attacks And it was planned it had nothing to do with the film and your dumb if you buy the koolaid coming from the White House the lack of sercurity should tell ya all you need to know about Obama and who his truely alined with and its not America stop apologizeing for this country and get a back bone and not one of a jelly fish

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    • cdrcodyComment by cdrcody
      September 30, 2012 @ 12:05 am

      He will never stop appologizing for this country because that is part of the plan to downgrade America in the eyes of the rest of the world. As for getting some backbone that would require that he begins to do something honorable. I have a better chance of winning the PowerBall jackpot than that happening

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  6. diamondjimComment by diamondjim
    September 28, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

    You are right on the money, Lardo. Youssef is a fall guy who would not have gotten the slightest notice from L.A.P.D. or any other law enforcement agency for his alleged probation violation had he not made this film. Obama waxes eloquently at the U.N. about the right of free speech, and this guy is in the slammer for exercising his. Had he made a film about Christians there would have been no problem, but it is not politically correct to criticize Islam with Obama in the White House and Iranian Muslim Valerie Jarrett serving as his closest adviser.

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  7. Woody M. LawsonComment by Woody M. Lawson
    September 28, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    I had never heard of this “movie” until it was advertized by the administration. It was after the “movie” was talked about repeatedly by the administration that the protests started in the Muslim world

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  8. issyComment by issy
    September 28, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

    I’m still having a hard time watching the destruction of our great nation. This man has every right to free speech under our Constitution. Our community leader,barry obama cornholio,posing as a President has got to go. To all of you folks out there who voted him I’m sure there are many many of you who have regrets and will not vote for him again. God Bless America.

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  9. GreymomComment by Greymom
    September 28, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

    I can’t imagine why GOP USA seems to have drunk the “it’s the film that sparked the riots.” kool-Aid. There was not a single word in the article to indicate that GOPUSA didn’t believe that the film was the reason. They are behind the curve again. Last week it was the “Chick-Fil-A caved story” and no retraction or “oops we bought the MSM line.”

    Shame on you for not doing your homework about the stories you publish.

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    • adminComment by GOPUSA Staff
      September 28, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

      Read the source of the article. It was written by the Associated Press, which is clearly stated in the dateline.

      GOPUSA has numerous columns and blog posts in which we have been saying from the beginning that the original attacks were planned terrorism by al Qaeda.

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  10. dropdeadfredComment by dropdeadfred
    September 28, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

    So just becaust he had a prior drug conviction he’s not allowed to have a psudoname?
    A movie. Regardless of the reception it recieves or the actions of activist nutbags over it, is a form of art and therefore is given artistic licence.
    it has long been an accepted norm that persons producing novels, movies, etc have accepted and used quite regularly psudonames for the protection of their own privacy. This has never been illigal before.

    I also wonder what other law he has violated. Since when is making a movie regardless as to how controvertial it is illigal? Since when was it illigal to express his religous views or expose the disturbing trueths of other religions? So where is the alledged crime that created the alledged need to investigate this person to begin with? Since when does being a parolled convicted felon of a drug crime preclude someone of their first amendment rights? Since when does this proclude someone from trying to maintain the same sense of privacy as most authors of novels? He was using a psudoname to protect his privacy not an alias to commit or cover up a crime. This is not a crime in it’s self

    This whole parole violation hearing is a farce to expose this guy for doing the right thing. To make an example of him to try and quell the response to his movie abrod. This guy didn’t rum amok and kill people. those nut bags in the middle east did. They are the ones who should be prosecuted.

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  11. Mary Theresa Del BuonoComment by Mary Theresa Del Buono
    September 28, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    Oh well…we have some people who think movie was the reason for hissy by those folks over in any part of middle east…nope…nada…niete…just stop listening to the lies being told to us…look at all the joyriding the leftist bunch has done at our expense…God Bless America…poor guy is a scapegoat for all the chatter 7 clatter… going on…

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  12. sexysadieComment by sexysadie
    September 28, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

    “He’s a person who simply can’t be trusted,” he said.

    I thought this sentence pertained to BO…

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  13. Eagle OneComment by Eagle One
    September 28, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    It is a typical AP news release. Anyone with a functioning brain cell knows that “movie”, if you can call it that, had nothing to do with anything going on in Libya, Egypt or anywhere else.

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  14. lgreen311Comment by lgreen311
    September 28, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

    Just like so many other times the amateur in the WH speaks before knowing the facts (like with Prof. Gates and cops), only this time he DID KNOW, and instead of telling the truth to the people, Obama CHOSE to LIE to the PEOPLE and continued to try and get us to believe it for the following 9 days, by repeating the same garbage about a film that came out 1 to 2 months earlier. He still today attempts to place blame on the film rather the the EXTREMELY WEAK LOOKING position Obama calls his Foreign Policy. I will agree it is foreign to most Americans alright, makes our friends sound like enemies and that nations we know whom hate our guts will suddenly love us if only Obama were to apologize to them just once more (and continue or increase ‘foreign aid money’ too them. He refuses to call terrorism just exactly what it is. Obama and pals labeled the Ft. Hood jihad attack as ‘workplace violence’, never mind the facts he is a Muslim and during the rampage was shouting ‘Allah Akbar’, don’t sound like any workplace violence incident in history, but looks identical to a TERRORIST ATTACK! I guess Lies and Image is more important to Obama than Transparency and preventing Terrorist Attacks. Now after a fortnight the administrations says it’s obvious the attack was not just due to the film, it was planned and well executed on 9/11/12 for a very specific reason, to send a message and they did just that, all the while aided by kind words for Obama about how we should perhaps not allow Free-Speech (if it is against Islam or anything it worships, but all other topics be damned).

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  15. noveldogComment by noveldog
    September 29, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

    Since they could not readily get him for the film they got him on other charges, and if guilty rightly so. But don’t think for a moment they would not like to forbid anyone from making another film that tells the truth on the Muslims. They fear them! BHO has defended them while thumbing his nose at the Israeli Prime Minister. That should tell everyone where his loyalties lie.

    This is a call to come forward and be a Patriot! The chips are down. Do you love God? Do you love your country? If so then you must vote this villian out of office and by a landslide! If you fail then Armeggedon is just a short piece down the road and then blood will flow.

    It is time to fire the ones who are DREAM BUSTERS, and replace them with the ones who create true jobs, and true opportunity. Then we will all have prospirity, not just a few like Soros and Buffet!

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  16. awkingsleyComment by awkingsley
    September 29, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

    He changes his name often, cannot be trusted, smiles in court; he must be in the CIA. It appears to me, he did exactly what someone at the UN or in the Federal Government wanted him to do. The Globalist New World Order is just itching for a war with Iran. How better to get another war in the Middle East than by irritating Muslims so much they riot and assassinate Americans. Mark Youssef must be getting paid a bundle for his film.

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  17. bigjohn555Comment by bigjohn555
    September 29, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

    The Director of National Intelligence now admits that it was not the film, as bad as it was, that sparked the violence.
    Could it have possibly been Obama and Biden’s continuously spiking the Osama football during and after the dimocrat convention?

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