The video – presented as a trailer for a full-length film which may or may not exist – sparked violent protests in Muslim countries across North Africa and the Middle East, and it’s been tied to an apparently coordinated attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other embassy personnel were killed Tuesday.
The whole episode involving the badly produced and poorly acted film (which appears to include crude dubbing of dialogue denigrating the Prophet Mohammad) raises questions about freedom of speech, which alone could make any prosecution in the United States difficult.
But at this point in the unfolding saga, if Nakoula is to remain in custody at all it probably will be related to his breaking the rules of his probation on wholly unrelated charges.
Nakoula pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California and was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution, the Associated Press reports. He was also sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and was ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer. He served about a year in prison.