Could man linked with anti-Islam film be in trouble with the law? (+video)
"If this man was using a false name to gain access to the Internet, it would certainly appear at first blush that he is in violation and could be taken,” he adds.
Nakoula was released by federal authorities last weekend and is now in hiding with his family. Nakoula told his Coptic Christian bishop that he was not involved with the film, the bishop told Reuters.
But an actress in the film, "Innocence of Muslims," announced Wednesday that she is suing Nakoula for unspecified damages after receiving death threats for her role in the film. She says the movie was shot as an adventure film and the anti-Islamic lines were later dubbed in.
Prominent American anti-Islamic activist Joseph Nassralla also made a statement Wednesday alleging that Nakoula had changed the film's content without his knowledge. Nassralla, the founder of a group called Media for Christ, added that he later found out that Nakoula – using the name Sam Bacile – had used Media for Christ's name without his permission to get an official permit for making the film, according to Reuters.
As for Nakoula's probation status, Internet-use conditions are reasonably common in fraud cases, says Caleb Mason, a professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.
“There could be a variety of theories under which using false pretenses to get valuable consideration from someone – say, money or services – would constitute fraud, which would be a crime and thus a violation,” he adds.
And legal experts say probation judges are not to be trifled with.
“My view is that judges revoke probation when they're irritated by the probationer, or feel tricked or lied to,” says Joel Jacobsen, assistant attorney general, criminal appeals division for New Mexico. “No one likes an ingrate, and judges, because of their position, are particularly sensitive to intimations of disrespect.”