Man behind 'Innocence of Muslims' denies violating his probation
Mark Basseley Youssef, the California man behind the inflammatory anti-Muslim film, made a court appearance Wednesday and denied having violated the terms of his probation.
Mona Shafer Edwards/AP/File
The California man behind the anti-Muslim film that sparked violence in the Middle East denied Wednesday that he violated terms of his probation for a 2010 bank fraud conviction by using aliases and lying about his role in the movie.
Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, made a brief appearance in a courtroom packed with media and quietly repeated "deny" when all eight probation violation allegations were read by U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder, who scheduled an evidentiary hearing for Nov. 9.
None of the alleged violations have to do with the content of the movie or whether Youssef was the one who posted to YouTube the 14-minute trailer for "Innocence of Muslims," which depicts Mohammad as a religious fraud, womanizer and pedophile. Federal authorities are seeking two years in prison for Youssef, who remains in custody and held without bail.
Youssef fled his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos and went into hiding when violence erupted in Egypt on Sept. 11. The violence spread, killing dozens, and enraged Muslims have demanded severe punishment for Youssef, with a Pakistani cabinet minister offering $100,000 to anyone who kills him.
"My client was not the cause of the violence in the Middle East," attorney Steven Seiden said after the hearing. "Clearly, it was pre-planned and it was just an excuse and a trigger point to have more violence."