Anti-Islam filmmaker arrested; held without bail
The arrest of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man behind the controversial film "Innocence of Muslims," is for violation of his parole.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale then addressed the judge, claiming the man -- who he referred to as Nakoula or Bassil -- had engaged in a "pattern of deception" and "a person who cannot be trusted."
Dugdale pointed to a probation report citing eight allegations in which Nakoula had allegedly violated his probation. One of those was a requirement not to use aliases without permission from his probation officer, something the prosecutor said Nakoula did on at least three instances: during his fraud case, when he tried to get a passport in 2011, and during the making of the film. Dugdale said Nakoula had deceived the cast of the film, as well as his probation officers.
The prosecutor also noted that Nakoula was able to afford to make payments during the making of the film, saying it further raised concerns about his possibly fleeing the area while the legal case against him proceeds.
"He poses a flight risk and poses a danger to others," Dugdale said, alluding to the probation report's recommendation that Nakoula be sentenced to 24 months in prison.
The prosecutor added that he had received assurances from the Metropolitan Detention Center that Nakoula would be placed in protective custody if he was ordered jailed, meaning he would not have contact with other inmates.
The judge, who ordered a future identity hearing to determine the defendant's actual name, cited the many instances in which he misrepresented his name. She also noted his "unstable" residence and work history, referring to the film project, as also among the reasons for denying him bail.
Lock up the blasphemer! President Obama is as good as his word when he told the UN that the "future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." Mr. Nakoula's future seems apparent: 24 months in the hoosegow.
No doubt this charlatan violated his parole. But really Mr. Prosecutor, does he pose a "danger to others?" Where did that come from? The man has been convicted of a white collar crime, not murder. Denying him bail is punitive.
And it is punitive because he made a film blaspheming the prophet. Both the judge and prosecutor referenced the film in their statements, which means, I suppose, that Mr. Nakoula's ideas about Mohammed violated his parole in some way. Or they are using the violation of parole to punish him for his decidedly politically incorrect thoughts.
You can't escape the notion that the film is at the heart of these proceedings and it will be seen that way in the Muslim world. They will recognize the parole violation as an excuse - happens in their countries all the time. A free speech advocate or political reformer is arrested and charged with a crime unrelated to his political activities. This is a favorite tactic of authoritarians around the world and now, it's being used in America.
Bottom line: Nakoula is not the most attractive martyr for free speech. He may even deserve to go back to jail for his parole violations. But someone should have mentioned to the prosector how this will play in places around the world where free speech is honored in the breach and defamation of the prophet carries stiff penalities.