"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.
"He engaged in a likely pattern of deception both to his probation officers and the court," US Magistrate Suzanne Segal said in issuing her ruling that Nakoula be held pending a decision on the eight charges of violating probation. "The court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time.”
The amateurish short video – there’s no indication that a full film ever was produced – stirred deadly riots that began in Egypt, then spread to other countries, including Libya. There, US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Embassy personnel were killed at the consulate in Benghazi.