"It is a danger for him to remain in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles because there are a large number of Muslims in there," Steven Seiden said. "We are extremely concerned about his safety."
But Assistant US Attorney Robert Dugdale argued that Nakoula had engaged in a "pattern of deception" and is "a person who cannot be trusted."
"He poses a flight risk and poses a danger to others,” Mr. Dugdale said. "He has every incentive to disappear.”
That’s a reasonable assumption, according to some legal authorities.
Lawrence Rosenthal, a constitutional and criminal law professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif., told the Associated Press that it is "highly unusual" for a judge to order immediate detention on a probation violation for a nonviolent crime, but if there are questions about Nakoula's identity it is more likely.
"When the prosecution doesn't really know who they're dealing with, it's much easier to talk about flight," Mr. Rosenthal said in the AP report. "I've prosecuted individuals who'd never given a real address. You don't know who you're dealing with, and you're just going to have very limited confidence about their ability to show up in court."
The federal judge agreed.