Mark Basseley Youssef, right, is depicted talking with his attorney Steven Seiden in court on Sept. 27 in this sketch.(Photo: Mona Shafer Edwards, AP)
LOS ANGELES -- More details could emerge Wednesday about the U.S.
man behind an anti-Muslim film that led to violent protests across the
Mark Basseley Youssef faces a hearing on accusations that he violated the terms of his probation by lying about his identity.
of the eight alleged violations have to do with the content of the
amateur film, "Innocence of Muslims," and what prompted Youssef to use
at least two aliases after he was convicted in 2010 of bank fraud
remains a mystery.
The film depicts the Prophet Mohammad as a religious fraud, pedophile and a womanizer
hearing will give Youssef, 55, a chance to challenge any evidence
gathered by federal authorities since his arrest in September, just
weeks after he went into hiding when deadly violence erupted in Libya,
Egypt, Iran and elsewhere in response to the movie.
have demanded severe punishment for Youssef, with a Pakistani cabinet
minister offering $100,000 to anyone who kills him.
Federal authorities are seeking a two-year sentence for Youssef, who remains held without bail.
had been sentenced to 21 months in prison for using more than a dozen
aliases and opening about 60 bank accounts to conduct a check fraud
scheme, prosecutors said. After Youssef was released from prison, he was
barred from using computers or the Internet for five years without
approval from his probation officer.
Federal authorities have said
they believe Youssef is responsible for the film, but they haven't said
whether he was the person who posted it online. He also wasn't supposed
to use any name other than his true legal name without the prior
written approval of his probation officer.
At least three names
have been associated with Youssef since the film trailer surfaced - Sam
Bacile, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and Youssef. Bacile was the name
attached to the YouTube account that posted the video.
documents show Youssef legally changed his name from Nakoula in 2002,
though when he was tried, he identified himself as Nakoula. He wanted
the name change because he believed Nakoula sounded like a girl's name,
according to court documents.
Among the violations Youssef denied
were obtaining a fraudulent California driver's license, telling federal
authorities that his role in the film was limited to writing the script
and using the "Nakoula" name throughout his bank fraud case.
Prosecutors recently sought transcripts from a pair of 2009 hearings in
the bank fraud case where Youssef told two judges that his true name was
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
"I think the main thing to focus on is
that he may agree with some of the allegations but not all of them,"
said Tess Lopez, a former federal probation officer who now is a
sentencing consultant in Northern California. "Then prosecutors have to
decide whether to drop the remaining charges or find more evidence to
prove the allegations are true."