Nakoula Basseley Nakoula

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula
Born1957 (age 61–62)
Other names
  • Sam Bacile
  • Mark Basseley Youssef[2]
  • Yousseff M. Basseley
  • Nicola Bacily
  • Robert Bacily
  • and several others[3]
OccupationWriter, producer, promoter
Former gas station owner; convicted fraudster.[4][5][6]
Known forKey figure in production of the anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims[1]

Mark Basseley Youssef, formerly known as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (born 1957), is an Egyptian-born U.S. resident[1] who is a writer, producer and promoter of Innocence of Muslims, an anti-Islamic video which was accused of denigrating Islam's prophet, Muhammad.[1][7][8][9][10]

On 2 July 2012, a "Sam Bacile",[11] who was later identified as Nakoula, posted English-language promotional trailers for Innocence of Muslims on YouTube. The videos were later dubbed into Arabic and posted on the Internet in September 2012. Demonstrations and violent protests against the video broke out on September 11 in Egypt and spread to other Arab and Muslim nations along with a few western countries. These protests lead to hundreds of injuries and more than 50 deaths.[12][13]

On 27 September 2012, U.S. federal authorities stated that Nakoula had been arrested in Los Angeles and charged with violating terms of his probation. Prosecutors stated that the violations included making false statements regarding his role in the film and his use of the alias "Sam Bacile".[5]

On 7 November 2012, Nakoula pleaded guilty to four of the charges against him and was sentenced to one year in prison and four years of supervised release.[14][15]

Early life and past criminal convictions[edit]

Nakoula was born in Egypt,[1] and speaks an Egyptian dialect of Arabic.[16] In a September 2012 interview with Voice of America's Arabic-language station, Radio Sawa, he claimed he was a graduate of the Faculty of Arts at Cairo University and a researcher of Islamic thought.[16] At some point, he emigrated to Southern California where he operated gas stations in Hawaiian Gardens, California.[17] and resided in Cerritos, in Los Angeles County, California[6][18][19][20] Nakoula attended a number of Coptic churches in the area, including St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Bellflower, but was not a regular member.[21]

According to the Associated Press, "Nakoula struggled with a series of financial problems".[22] In 1996, a lien for $194,000 was filed against Nakoula's gas station for unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest dating from 1989-92.[6] A $106,000 lien was filed against him in 1997.[22] He filed for bankruptcy protection in 2000,[6][23] owing several banks a total of $166,500, but later failing to make payments under the bankruptcy plan.[6][24] A $191,000 tax lien was filed against him in 2006.[22]

The Daily Beast reported that Nakoula was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 1997 after being pulled over and found to be in possession of ephedrine, hydroiodic acid and $45,000 in cash.[6] Nakoula was charged with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.[20] He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 1997 to one year in Los Angeles County Jail and three years' probation. According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney, he violated probation in 2002 and was re-sentenced to another year in county jail.[25]

In 2010, Nakoula pleaded no contest to federal charges of bank fraud in California. Nakoula had opened bank accounts using fake names and stolen Social Security numbers, including one belonging to a 6-year-old child,[3] and deposited checks from those accounts to withdraw at ATMs.[26] The prosecutor described the scheme as check kiting: "You try to get the money out of the bank before the bank realizes they are drawn from a fraudulent account. There basically is no money."[7] Nakoula's June 2010 sentencing transcript shows that after being arrested, he testified against an alleged ring leader of the fraud scheme, in exchange for a lighter sentence.[27][28][29] He was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison, followed by five years' probation (supervised release), and ordered to pay $794,701 in restitution.[7][30] He was sent to prison, then to a halfway house,[31] and was released from custody in June 2011.

A few weeks after his release, Nakoula began working on Innocence of Muslims.[31][32] Conditions of Nakoula's probation include not using aliases and not using the Internet without prior approval from his probation officer.[33][34]

Innocence of Muslims[edit]

Nakoula has been identified as a key figure behind Innocence of Muslims, an anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube that disparages Islam's prophet Muhammad, and that has been blamed for sparking demonstrations and riots in the Middle East, North Africa,[1] and other regions. After protests against Innocence of Muslims began on 11 September 2012,[35] a man who identified himself as "Sam Bacile", the YouTube poster of the videos, called the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal.[6] He claimed he had produced a movie titled Innocence of Muslims, which was being promoted on YouTube. He falsely claimed the movie had been funded by $5 million collected from 100 Jewish donors, and that he himself was an Israeli Jew.[6][32]

By 13 September, Nakoula had been linked to the movie and the persona Sam Bacile, by the Associated Press and U.S. federal authorities.[1] The Associated Press reported that the cellphone number that "Bacile" used for an interview matched Nakoula's address,[36][37][38] and among Nakoula's 13 previously known aliases were names which were similar to Sam Bacile (his middle name is Basseley).[3][22] Nakoula denied being Bacile,[36][37][38] but federal law enforcement officials identified Nakoula as the key filmmaker.[22][25][39] Parts of the video appear to have been recorded at Nakoula's home.[40] According to authorities, Nakoula claimed he wrote the script while in prison. He said he was a producer and that the money for it ($50,000–$60,000) came from his wife's family in Egypt.[21][41]

Arrest and imprisonment[edit]

Following the violent reactions to the video, Nakoula and his family went into hiding, and the Cerritos home was listed for sale.[18] His attorney has said he has received threats to his safety.[39] On 15 September 2012, federal authorities took Nakoula in for an interview about possible probation violations related to the film's distribution on the Internet.[42][43][44][45]

On 27 September 2012, U.S. federal authorities arrested Nakoula in Los Angeles charging eight counts of probation violation.[39][46] Prosecutors alleged that some of the violations included making false statements regarding his role in the film and his use of the alias "Sam Bacile".[5] None of the charges relate to his use of the Internet.[39] Following a hearing before a judge, Nakoula was ordered to jail without bail, with the judge citing probation violations including lying to probation officials, "danger to the community" and "lack of trust in the defendant".[4] On 7 November, he pleaded guilty to four of the charges against him in an apparent plea bargain. He was subsequently sentenced to a year in federal prison and four years of supervised release.[14]

On 28 November 2012, an Egyptian court, prior to the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government of Mohamed al-Morsi, sentenced Nakoula, along with several other Coptic Christians, and anti-Islam preacher Terry Jones, all to death, in absentia, for defaming Islam; all of these individuals, however, live outside Egypt.[47][48] Pakistani railways minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour privately offered a $100,000 bounty for the death of Nakoula.[49][50]

In August 2013, Nakoula was released from prison to serve his remaining sentence in a halfway house, and then to be on probation for the next four years.[51] On 26 September 2013, he was released from the halfway house to the custody of Pastor Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, California.[52] As of November 2015, Nakoula was living at a Los Angeles homeless shelter and working part-time at a pizza parlor.[53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Isikoff, Michael (13 September 2012). "Man behind anti-Islam film reportedly is Egyptian-born ex-con" Archived September 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, worldnews.nbcnews.com; accessed 22 July 2014.
  2. ^ Kim, Victoria (September 28, 2012). "Nakoula Basseley Nakoula's aliases duped many, prosecutor says". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Noah Shachtman with Robert Beckhusen, "Anti-Islam Filmmaker Went by ‘P.J. Tobacco’ and 13 Other Names" Archived March 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, wired.com, 13 September 2012.
  4. ^ a b Garrison, Jessica & Kim, Victoria (September 27, 2012). "Judge jails 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Risling, Greg (September 28, 2012). "Calif. man behind anti-Muslim film ordered jailed". Associated Press. Yahoo News. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Bensinger, Ken; Gottlieb, Jeff (13 September 2012). "Alleged anti-Muslim film producer has drug, fraud convictions" Archived October 31, 2012, at WebCite, Los Angeles Times, September 2012; accessed 22 July 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Flaccus, Gillian (12 September 2012). "California man confirms role in anti-Islam film amid mystery over movie and its makers". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 15 September 2012.
  8. ^ Nissenbaum, Dion; Oberman, James; Orden, Erica (12 September 2012). "Behind Video, a Web of Questions" Archived June 15, 2017, at the Wayback Machine Wall Street Journal, online.wsj.com; accessed 22 July 2014.
  9. ^ Smiley, Brett (13 September 2012). "Mystery Man Behind the Anti-Islam Film May Have Been Identified" Archived September 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Archived September 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, nymag.com; accessed 22 July 2014.
  10. ^ Economy, Randy (13 September 2012). World media converge on quiet Cerritos cul-de-sac in search of Anti-Islamic film maker Archived September 17, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, MediaNews Group; accessed 22 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Muhammad Movie Trailer". YouTube. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Death, destruction in Pakistan amid protests tied to anti-Islam film". CNN. September 21, 2012. Archived from the original on November 23, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  13. ^ "Egypt newspaper fights cartoons with cartoons". CBS News. Associated Press. September 26, 2012. Archived from the original on March 28, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  14. ^ a b Kim, Victoria (November 7, 2012). "'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker gets a year in prison". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  15. ^ Nakoula profile Archived July 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, thesmokinggun.com; accessed 23 July 2014.
  16. ^ a b Fadwa Msat and Devin Hachn (14 September 2012) Filmmaker of anti-Islam film has a judicial record and has already been convicted in cases of fraud in America Archived February 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Radio Sawa, Google English Translation.
    فدوى مساط (September 14, 2012) صاحب الفيلم المسيء للإسلام له سجل قضائي وسبقت إدانته في قضايا تزوير في أميركا Archived September 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Radiosawa.com(in Arabic)
  17. ^ Sewell, Abby (September 18, 2012). "Charity head says 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker misled him". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2014. Joseph Nassralla said he offered Media for Christ's broadcast studio for 10 days of filming but had nothing further to do with movie, which has sparked anti-American protests across the Arab world.
  18. ^ a b "Probation case against anti-Muslim filmmaker moves slowly and privately as protests continue". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 26 September 2012. Archived from the original on 27 December 2018.
  19. ^ Knickerbocker, Brad (September 15, 2012). "Nakoula Basseley Nakoula – AKA 'Sam Basile' – questioned in anti-Islam video (+video)". Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2014. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been questioned regarding the 'Innocence of Muslims' YouTube video that sparked violent protests around the world. But it's probation violations for earlier convictions on bank fraud and methamphetamine charges that could put him back behind bars.
  20. ^ a b Pelisek, Christine (13 September 2012). "Anti-Muslim Movie Maker a Meth Cooker" Archived September 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, The Daily Beast; accessed 22 July 2014.
  21. ^ a b Harriet Ryan & Jessica Garrison (September 14, 2012). "Christian charity, ex-con linked to film on Islam". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 14, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  22. ^ a b c d e Sullivan, Eileen & Stephen Braun (September 14, 2012). "US identifies anti-Muslim filmmaker". US News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  23. ^ In re Nakoula, case no. 2:00-bk-28889-BR, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles Div.).
  24. ^ Docket entry 40, 27 October 2000, In re Nakoula, case no. 2:00-bk-28889-BR, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles Div.).
  25. ^ a b Makarechi, Kia (September 13, 2012). "'Innocence of Muslims' Filmmaker Identified by Law Enforcement as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  26. ^ Stephen Braun & Gilian Flaccus (September 12, 2012). "Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Claims Role In 'Innocence Of Muslims'". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on September 14, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  27. ^ Rayman, Graham (September 11, 2012). "Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Noxious Anti-Islam Video Producer, Was Government Informant". Blogs.villagevoice.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  28. ^ Time Waster (September 14, 2012). "Producer of Anti-Islam Film Was Fed Snitch". The Smoking Gun. Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  29. ^ Time Waster. "Nakoula Transcript". The Smoking Gun. Archived from the original on September 18, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  30. ^ Judgment and Commitment, docket entry 58, 24 June 2010, United States v. Nakoula, case no. 2:09-cr-00617-CAS-1, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles Div.).
  31. ^ a b Staff report (13 September 2012). "Anti-Islam Film's Producer Is On Federal Probation" Archived September 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, thesmokinggun.com; accessed 22 July 2014.
  32. ^ a b Elaridi, Frank. "Family of Anti-Islam Filmmaker Flees California Home". Abcnews.go.com. Archived from the original on September 18, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  33. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2012. Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  34. ^ "Suspected anti-Islam filmmaker questioned by federal probation officers". Usnews.nbcnews.com. September 11, 2001. Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  35. ^ Max Fisher (September 10, 2012). "The Movie So Offensive That Egyptians Just Stormed the U.S. Embassy Over It". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  36. ^ a b Carroll, Rory (12 September 2012). "Anti-Islamic film search leads to Coptic Christian in California" Archived March 22, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian; accessed 23 July 2014.
  37. ^ a b Peralta, Eyder (12 September 2012). "What We Know About 'Sam Bacile' The Man Behind the Muhammad Movie" Archived May 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, npr.org; accessed 22 July 2014.
  38. ^ a b Gazzar, Brenda; Scauzillo, Steve (12 September 2012). Movie that set off violence in Middle East produced by Duarte nonprofit Archived September 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Archived September 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, San Gabriel Valley Tribune; accessed 22 July 2014.
  39. ^ a b c d Kim, Victoria (September 28, 2012). "Jailed 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker faces 3 years in prison". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  40. ^ Adam Nagourney & Serge F. Kovaleski (September 13, 2012). "Man of Many Names Is Tied to a Video". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 19, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  41. ^ Richard Esposito; Brian Ross (September 13, 2012). "Anti-Islam Film Producer Wrote Script in Prison: Authorities". ABC News. Archived from the original on September 14, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  42. ^ Pete Yost (14 September 2012). "Probation department looking at filmmaker". Associated Press. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  43. ^ Paul Harris (September 15, 2012). "US police question film-maker linked to controversial anti-Islam movie". UK Guardian. London, UK. Archived from the original on May 30, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  44. ^ Gillian Flaccus & Greg Risling (September 26, 2012). "Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Possibly Violated Probation By Uploading 'Innocence Of Muslims' Without Permission". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on September 27, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  45. ^ Documents Archived September 17, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, thesmokinggun.com; accessed 22 July 2014.
  46. ^ "Anti-Islam Filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Arrested on Probation Violation, Detained Without Bail". ABC News. Archived from the original on September 28, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  47. ^ "Innocence of Muslims Director Nakoula and Evangelical Firebrand Rev Terry Jones Sentenced to Death".
  48. ^ "Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker sentenced to death in Egypt". Los Angeles Times. November 28, 2012. Archived from the original on December 1, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  49. ^ "Pakistani minister offers bounty to kill Nakoula Basseley Nakoula" Archived May 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, thedailybeast.com; 7 October 2012; accessed 22 July 2014.
  50. ^ "'Our beloved Prophet is our honor!': Thousands rally in Pakistan against anti-Islam video" Archived December 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 1 October 2012.
  51. ^ "Producer of anti-Muslim film released from L.A. prison" Archived August 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 15 August 2013.
  52. ^ "Filmmaker Behind Anti-Islam Film Released From Halfway House" Archived September 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, CBS Los Angeles News, 26 September 2013; retrieved 22 July 2013.
  53. ^ Picket, Kerry (November 3, 2015). "Benghazi YouTube Filmmaker Lives Quiet Life In L.A. Homeless Shelter". Daily Caller. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.

External links[edit]