Patterico's Pontifications

9/27/2012

Maker of Anti-Muslim Movie Arrested

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:27 pm

Yes, this time it’s not a voluntary interview but an arrest:

A man believed to be behind an anti-Muslim video that spawned international protests was held without bail in Los Angeles on Thursday, after federal authorities arrested him earlier in the day for allegedly violating the terms of probation on a prior conviction.

Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the 55-year-old alleged filmmaker, had a history of misrepresenting himself and posed a flight risk in denying a request for bail. “The court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time,” the judge said.

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have accused Mr. Nakoula of eight violations of the terms of his probation for a 2010 bank-fraud conviction.

I think it’s worth keeping in mind the words Ken from Popehat had when Nakoula was questioned:

Based on 6 years as a federal prosecutor and 12 as a federal defense lawyer, let me say this: minor use of a computer — like uploading a video to YouTube — is not something that I would usually expect to result in arrest and a revocation proceeding; I think a warning would be more likely unless the defendant had already had warnings or the probation officer was a hardass. But if I had a client with a serious fraud conviction, and his fraud involved aliases, and he had the standard term forbidding him from using aliases during supervised release, and his probation officer found out that he was running a business, producing a movie, soliciting money, and interacting with others using an alias, I would absolutely expect him to be arrested immediately, whatever the content of the movie. Seriously. Nakoula pled guilty to using alias to scam money. Now he’s apparently been producing a film under an alias, dealing with the finances of the film under the alias, and (if his “Sam Bacile” persona is to be believed) soliciting financing under an alias. I would expect him to run into a world of hurt for that even if he were producing a “Coexist” video involving kittens.

The problem we have here is that the head of the federal executive has criticized this guy repeatedly. His administration pressured Google to take down his movie; his Cairo embassy called it an “abuse” of free speech; and his State Department apologized for it in a country (Pakistan) where a public official offered money for the filmmaker to be killed.

So even if the line guys are doing their jobs the way they would otherwise, the President has made them look like political hacks. Which is unfortunate on several levels.

Thanks to Aaron Walker.

55 Comments

  1. Ding.

    Comment by Patterico (83033d) — 9/27/2012 @ 9:33 pm

  2. Chicago thug government in action.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 9/27/2012 @ 9:36 pm

  3. With respect to Ken, the problem with his theory is this: they never would have looked in to this but for the video he made.

    Making a video that offends a religion should not be the occasion of a federal investigation. Period.

    My thoughts, and other bad free speech news, here.

    Comment by Aaron "Worthing" Walker (23789b) — 9/27/2012 @ 9:50 pm

  4. And thanks for the linkage.

    Comment by Aaron "Worthing" Walker (23789b) — 9/27/2012 @ 9:51 pm

  5. And yet, that was Ward Churchill’s argument, Aaron.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 9/27/2012 @ 9:55 pm

  6. the First Amendment is the First Amendment.

    of course, if our SCOAMF and the SecState Sasquatch had done their j*bs and provided security for our embassies and people in areas where the locals could be easily predicted to go postal on 9-11, none of this would have come to be.

    the blame, the guilt and the coverup all start at the White House, and, regardless of what the accused may or may not have done, this is all on the First Failure and the utter disaster, at least for America, that is his foreign policy.

    personally, i believe he is pleased with the way things are going, and i fully expect him to do handsprings and a victory dance if Iran attacks Israel.

    F him, the Shetland pony he rode in on, and the idiots who voted for him.

    Comment by redc1c4 (403dff) — 9/27/2012 @ 10:06 pm

  7. There is certainly the possibility of a big fraud with this video, but….we haven’t heard anything about it.

    Yes, he lied to most people involved in the making of this movie, but…did he lie to any investor, or contributor.

    There is an ABC story that early on he claimed he got the money from his wife;s family in Egyot.

    Now what I think is he got the money from the Moslem Brotherhood, and the only possibility of a big fraud was he told them it would be a well-produced pro-Islam movie and instead it was this – but why would he do such a thing? And wouldn’t the MB react differently?

    No, the Moslem Brotherhood was not taken by surprise. He gave them exactly what they wanted – they actually wanted the production values to be bad so that nobody would be tempted to turn against them or Islam.

    The only little fraud may be he told them it would cost X and he spent let’s say less than half of that – but they expected hm anyway to make a profit.

    But if this is what the story is, the method of proceeding against hm is not giving him much of an incentive to tell why and how this movie was made.That’s what we need to know.

    I don’t think any victims of financial fraud are going to turn up.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (1190c5) — 9/27/2012 @ 11:08 pm

  8. * There is an ABC story from early on (Sept. 13) that he claimed he got the money from his wife’s family in Egypt.

    If any money came from Egypt at all, it’s the Moslem Brotherhood, or some affiliate of the MB, and nobody else. This story of money coming from his family is exactly the kind of story the World Trade Center bombers told.

    Now, according to ABC I think, he claimed $60,000, but a person involved said the budget was $250,000 – the $60,000 my be only part of the money but the money transfer is documented.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (1190c5) — 9/27/2012 @ 11:13 pm

  9. Don’t you understand? The film maker is a Danger to Community! Just ask the judge.

    /sarcasm

    Comment by Christian (a2cff6) — 9/28/2012 @ 12:36 am

  10. Think of him, like the Copt version ofHenry Hill, of ‘Goodfellas’ fame, or Sammy the Bull’ Gravano’they’re shocked gambling is on, here

    Comment by narciso (ee31f1) — 9/28/2012 @ 2:55 am

  11. Off topic, congratulations Mr. Savage. You are free at last.

    Comment by mg (44de53) — 9/28/2012 @ 2:56 am

  12. Advice for Nakoula– make bail, blow town for Switzerland, get Oscar nomination. It worked for Polanski.

    Comment by Birdbath (716828) — 9/28/2012 @ 3:52 am

  13. “With respect to Ken, the problem with his theory is this: they never would have looked in to this but for the video he made.”

    So the more flagrantly you violate your probation, the less likely you are to be punished for that?

    If you unskew this, you’ll find out that being a jerk all over the world shouldn’t be a get out of jail free card for your probation violations.

    “Advice for Nakoula– make bail, blow town for Switzerland, get Oscar nomination. It worked for Polanski.”

    This ain’t Chinatown.

    Comment by UNSKEW (22a89a) — 9/28/2012 @ 4:57 am

  14. I apologize for going off-topic, but I wondered if Patterico and/or the lawyers visiting this site have been following the Warren legal/license story that is summarized at the url below. I am looking for other takes on it.

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/09/elizabeth-warren-defender-with-this-bombshell-i-would-no-longer-view-the-case-against-her-as-weak/

    Comment by jim2 (44e6b9) — 9/28/2012 @ 5:27 am

  15. I think some of you are missing the point. The guy is a convicted felon who committed fraud to rip people off. All that was prior to this movie. He got probation which had terms. The terms are more strict than the rules binding an average citizen — it’s not just “don’t defraud more people” (that’s a felony for everyone, not just him) but don’t use false names when using a computer. Yes, for Average Joe Citizen that’s not a crime, for him it violates probation. That’s what probation is all about — you have less liberty than a regular citizen. (The alternative is jail, which is even less liberty.)

    To give him a pass would be a bad signal. As Ken said, he would have gotten revocation regardless of what the movie was about. (Although I agree that the Obama Administration has badly handled this and given it an aura of censorship and suppression.)

    Comment by Bored Lawyer (ed6005) — 9/28/2012 @ 5:50 am

  16. Is there anything Obama has done competently other buying golf games and vacations for his family with the taxpayers’s money? He does not even know how to shake hands.

    Yes, this guy came into the probation department’s radar in a big way, and that’s an understatement. His violation could not be ignored, his revocation could not be avoided.

    But, the Obama administration lying to us about planned attacks that they knew of, or should have known of, months before, and blaming this gypsy’s video to hide their complacency and lackwittedness, really bites my ass.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 9/28/2012 @ 7:11 am

  17. The actual doj whore responsible for this fascist travesty is one Robert Dugdale. He should be famouser than Todd Akin even.

    But he won’t be.

    Comment by happyfeet (634c4b) — 9/28/2012 @ 7:27 am

  18. Agree strongly with Bored Lawyer/5:50 a.m. Plus, our filmmaker gave the judge a fresh new name and said he got convicted of fraud under an incorrect name. This caused the court to doubt him for some reason.

    Ken has another post up today at http://www.popehat.com that I’d strongly recommend.

    Aaron says:

    With respect to Ken, the problem with his theory is this: they never would have looked in to this but for the video he made.

    Making a video that offends a religion should not be the occasion of a federal investigation. Period.

    JRM: So, if I’m serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, I just blast Muslims in my next video scamalicious scam and I’m exempt from federal investigation?

    Turn it around: If a Muslim did a video “How to Murder The President, Because He is Christian,” and includes White House security schedules, the Secret Service shouldn’t have a helpful chat with him?

    I think some of the administration hand-wringing over hurty-feelings of the religious is wildly misguided, but the filmmaker with the changing names appears on his face to be an unrepentant lying scammer who used another false name to raise money. I want those people arrested, and I don’t want them to have a free pass because they insult Islam.

    –JRM

    Comment by JRM (cd0a37) — 9/28/2012 @ 7:28 am

  19. JRM

    Yep, you got it

    Comment by EPWJ (8a4ca7) — 9/28/2012 @ 8:35 am

  20. I think “we must prosecute this crook, or the terrorists will be mad” and “we must not prosecute this crook, or we will embolden the terrorists” are flip sides of the same coin.

    The terrorists are out to kill us whatever we do. Anything we do will be twisted by terrorists to incite mobs. The answer is to live by our values, which include both freedom of expression and the rule of law, rather than living by how terrorists and easily-incited mobs might react.

    We’ll know more when we see the eight revocation charges leveled against Nakoula. If they are all about uploading videos, I’m inclined to see this as selective prosecution. If they include the things I suspect they will — like using aliases to conduct financial transactions, and hiding assets from the probation officer — then the picture is quite different. Bear in mind this guy pled guilty to using alias to defraud banks and was sentenced to pay $700k in restitution of what he defrauded, and his conditions of supervised release — including not using aliases and disclosing financial transactions to the probation officer — are designed not only to prevent further fraud but to make sure he repays his victims.

    @happyfeet: the supervised release revocation proceeding requires the Probation Office – an arm of the court – to submit a report to a federal judge, and for the federal judge to issue a warrant based on it. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is not involved in that process. Bob Dougdale was present at the hearing because the United States is a party to the proceeding.

    I know Bob Dougdale. He’s the Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. He got there by hard work and a reputation for competence and honesty. As a defense attorney, I consider him to be an honorable opponent. You can interpret the presence of the Chief of Criminal at a minor hearing as evidence of sinister DoJ involvement — or you can interpret it as making absolutely sure everything goes right on an intensely-watched case, which is not unusual.

    I’m not excluding the possibility that the executive branch brought undue influence to bear. But I’ll wait for evidence.

    Comment by Ken (2e87a6) — 9/28/2012 @ 8:49 am

  21. Hubs pointed out to me this reality before the arrest took place: that in this particular case there might be ample reason to revoke probation apart from message, because of the nature of his former crimes and his dealings here, which involved aliases used to defraud, (with actors hoodwinked, suggesting a squirrely operation), and the film likely a pretext to finagle and/or launder money.

    This was sometime before the photos of the “elias Gonzales” walk.

    Comment by SarahW (b0e533) — 9/28/2012 @ 11:05 am

  22. I remain unconvinced that Mr. Scammy is truly a Copt, FWIW.

    Comment by SarahW (b0e533) — 9/28/2012 @ 11:07 am

  23. Actually, Obama is positively Wilsonian here.

    The Sedition Act

    ABC said that the judge referred to the defendant as “a danger to society” and then scrubbed it. I’d love to see the reporter’s transcript!

    Comment by Patricia (e1d89d) — 9/28/2012 @ 3:05 pm

  24. Comment by Sammy Finkelman — 9/27/2012 @ 11:13 pm

    Probably some “reverse Hollywood” accounting:
    He raised $500K, told everyone (twice, or more – The Producers was his inspiration, and guidebook) he budgeted for $250K, and actually spent $125K.

    Comment by AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92) — 9/28/2012 @ 3:46 pm

  25. Ken at 19 makes a key point everyone here needs to understand — violations of supervised release (and he’s on supervised release, not probation), are filed by the Probation Officer who is supervising the defendant on behalf of the Court. There is a very good argument to be made that DOJ has no real role in these proceedings – but the practice persists that prosecutors attend the proceedings and participate.

    But the “beef” so to speak is between the federal judge who issues the terms and conditions of supervised release that follows a prison sentence, and the defendant who is alleged to have violate those terms and conditions.

    The period of supervised release is part of the original sentence imposed. The way I explain it is that the defendant is still in the “custody” of the Court, he’s just not required to live in a prison for the last 2-3 years of his sentence. He’s allowed to be released while supervised. But if he violates the conditions imposed by the judge, he goes back to prison for some or all of the term of supervised release imposed.

    Comment by shipwreckedcrew (58dde3) — 9/28/2012 @ 4:18 pm

  26. Patricia at 22 — the judge probably used the term “danger to the community”. That is a term of art used in determining whether bail will be granted or not. The two inquiries the Court makes are whether the defendant is a “flight risk” if released, and whether his release would create a “danger to the community” that cannot be mitigated by conditions of release. Normally that is understood as a likelihood of reoffending while awaiting further proceedings.

    Courts normally look skeptically on someone convicted of fraud using aliases, who then is caught using aliases again while on supervised release, but want to be release on bail.

    Its normally quite rare for someone facing a petition to revoke their supervised release to be allowed to await the outcome of those proceedings while out on bail.

    Comment by shipwreckedcrew (58dde3) — 9/28/2012 @ 4:23 pm

  27. Maybe so, but this story, get’s much stranger;

    http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/counterterror-chiefs-company-linked-to-innocence-of-muslims-video/

    Comment by narciso (ee31f1) — 9/28/2012 @ 4:43 pm

  28. More falling on swords Obama’s reelection campaign. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/09/28/170078/intelligence-office-says-it-got.html

    Why can the country be safe when our intelligence (heh?) agencies are political instruments?

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 9/28/2012 @ 4:54 pm

  29. I agree with Ken. The only thing I’d add (and it’s just a guess) is that history suggests there probably was pressure from Washington to prosecute Nakoula. However, the delay in arresting him suggests the local authorities took the time to make sure the prosecution had a solid basis. If so, I find that refreshing. It’s hard for local jurisdictions to stand up to the federal government.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 9/28/2012 @ 5:21 pm

  30. Well it’s that idiot Shawn Turner, doing his version of ‘the lacky’ who impales himself on the sword, by the operative, in ‘Serenity’

    Comment by narciso (ee31f1) — 9/28/2012 @ 5:24 pm

  31. I am with you guys on this, piss on that pedophilia child rapist.

    Comment by The Emperor (fbdcfe) — 9/28/2012 @ 5:39 pm

  32. The whole nest of squirrels don’t matter;

    http://www.therightscoop.com/special-report-details-an-up-to-date-extensive-time-line-of-events-from-the-benghazi-attack-to-now/

    Comment by narciso (ee31f1) — 9/28/2012 @ 6:14 pm

  33. I am with you guys on this, piss on that pedophilia child rapist.

    Why must lovie and the rest of the trolls be so damn dishonest?

    Comment by JD (191dc1) — 9/28/2012 @ 6:28 pm

  34. 15. 15.I think some of you are missing the point. The guy is a convicted felon who committed fraud to rip people off. All that was prior to this movie. He got probation which had terms. The terms are more strict than the rules binding an average citizen — it’s not just “don’t defraud more people” (that’s a felony for everyone, not just him) but don’t use false names when using a computer. Yes, for Average Joe Citizen that’s not a crime, for him it violates probation. That’s what probation is all about — you have less liberty than a regular citizen. (The alternative is jail, which is even less liberty.)

    To give him a pass would be a bad signal. As Ken said, he would have gotten revocation regardless of what the movie was about. (Although I agree that the Obama Administration has badly handled this and given it an aura of censorship and suppression.)

    Comment by Bored Lawyer — 9/28/2012 @ 5:50 am

    I believe you’re also missing the point. They could have arrested the guy without turning this into a media circus.

    The press did not find Nakoula. The Obama administration deliberately outed him to the press.

    U.S. identifies anti-Muslim filmmaker

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal authorities have identified a Coptic Christian in southern California who is on probation after his conviction for financial crimes as the key figure behind the anti-Muslim film that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Mideast, a U.S. law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday.

    The official said authorities had concluded that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was behind “Innocence of Muslims,” a film that denigrated Islam and the prophet Muhammad and sparked protests earlier this week in Egypt, Libya and most recently in Yemen.

    The AP never would have put things together without the feds giving them the key pieces of information. Precisely to make it look like like we were arresting him for blaspheming their prophet.

    Arrest him for a probation violation? Fine. But the way the feds have handle this from the start has demonstrated they have not treated this as a standard probation violation. They arrest, I’m sure, people who violate the terms of their federal probation every day and it doesn’t make the news. They wanted to make sure this one did.

    Therein lies the despicable heart of this story.

    Oh sure. We have lawyers giving lawyerly explanations, as if we’re idiots and don’t understand what’s going on. I see what’s going on. And the legal fine points aren’t going to make it to the Arabic language broadcasts of Al Jazeera.

    It is beside the point to explain just why he should have been arrested for this probation violation. The point is, the Obama administration wanted the world to know he was arrested and imprisoned. He created a media event in response to the recent violence that makes it appear that we acquiesced to the Muslim Brotherhood’s demands. Muhammad Morsi dictates to us in a speech to the general assembly of the UN that he will not put up with any reading of the 1st Amendment that permits blasphemy against Islam, and the Obama ensures that world knows the guy who pissed him off by blaspheming has been arrested and jailed.

    That’s just despicable.

    Comment by Steve57 (c8ac21) — 9/28/2012 @ 7:45 pm

  35. I should have said the press never would have understood who Nakoula was without the feds feeding them the key pieces of information.

    Not that they didn’t find him. Just that when they did, they didn’t really know who they were talking to until the feds filled them in.

    Comment by Steve57 (c8ac21) — 9/28/2012 @ 7:48 pm

  36. Oh sure. We have lawyers giving lawyerly explanations, as if we’re idiots and don’t understand what’s going on.

    Facts are stubborn things.

    The revocation petition is still under seal as of this morning. We may not see it until his preliminary revocation hearing. Meanwhile, the news coverage — as is typical of news coverage of criminal justice matters — is vague and imprecise. It quotes the prosecution during the initial appearance, but based on the news I have seen so far, it’s very difficult to separate out (1) when the government was citing factors that went to flight risk and justified detention, vs. (2) when the government was listing what the eight charges in the revocation petition are.

    For instance:

    Assistant U.S. Atty. Robert Dugdale said in federal court Thursday that Nakoula had applied for a passport in one name, obtained a driver’s license under another and used a third name — which he spelled various ways -– while working on the film.

    Not clear if those are arguments that he’s a flight risk, or references to revocation charges for using aliases without the probation officer’s permission. And let’s be clear: if you are on supervised release for a federal fraud felony that involved using aliases to defraud people, and you have a no-aliases term, and you not only use aliases but apply for passports and driver’s licenses under aliases, you’re going to get hit with a supervised release violation. Those are new federal and state crimes. It’s not close to the line.

    That said:

    When probation officials questioned him about the video, Nakoula allegedly claimed his role was limited to writing the script, and denied ever using the name “Sam Bacile” in connection to the film, Dugdale said.

    Dugdale said there is evidence Nakoula’s role in making “Innocence of Muslims” was “much more expansive” than penning the script. Prosecutors said Nakoula could face new criminal charges for lying to federal officials.

    The feds do this all the time: (1) investigate and satisfy themselves that 2+2=4, (2) question a suspect, intending to get him to say that 2+2 does not equal 4, (3) charge him under 18 USC 1001 with lying to the government, even though the lie did not slow them down a nanosecond. It’s thuggish chickenshit. But, to be fair, it’s thuggish chickenshit they do to everyone.

    Comment by Ken (c24d1b) — 9/29/2012 @ 6:54 am

  37. Thanks for the explanation!

    Comment by shipwreckedcrew — 9/28/2012 @ 4:23 pm

    Comment by Patricia (e1d89d) — 9/29/2012 @ 11:12 am

  38. Give the Obama administration a little slack on picking up Nakoula Basseley Nakoula on parole violation. However where is the adminstration, from the President on down, entitled to pronounce Nakoula’s film responsible for anything, other than making a very bad video? Citizens are entitled to due process. The President has decided to pronounce Nakoula guilty and now expects the judicial system to reaffirm his kangaroo court verdict.

    Comment by David Lentz (35aa7c) — 9/29/2012 @ 7:20 pm

  39. Give the Obama administration a little slack on picking up Nakoula Basseley Nakoula on parole violation.

    I’ve said this before, but it’s just so crucial, I’ll say it again: people get arrested on supervised release revocations when the U.S. Probation Office (an arm of the judicial branch) petition the sentencing judge (an arm of the judicial branch) for an arrest warrant, and the judge finds cause to issue one. An arm of the executive branch — that is, the Obama Administration — in the form of the U.S. Marshals may pick him up, but they do so based on a warrant sought and issued within the judicial branch.

    If the Obama Administration injected itself into that process, that’s a whole other kettle of fish, and one that should have serious consequences.

    Comment by Ken (c24d1b) — 9/29/2012 @ 11:12 pm

  40. Ken, please forgive me. Isn’t supervised release still under the Bureau of Prisons?

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/3624 Safe, best link I could find.

    Prisoners, under supervised release, are still prisoners, subject to steel bars at any time.

    Not much different in practicality if it were probation, which I do not believe it was, but there is a different process for revocation.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 9/29/2012 @ 11:54 pm

  41. SPQR

    With respect, ward Churchill was not made the subject of a DOJ probe because of making a film. Any revelation of misconduct was done by private individuals.

    The government should not be in the business of investigating a person just for free speech. We have seen this before. Every time someone embarrasses the Obama admin… investigated. This is literally no different than what they did to joe the plumber.

    JRM

    > JRM: So, if I’m serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, I just blast Muslims in my next video scamalicious scam and I’m exempt from federal investigation?

    No, no exempt, but not a cause for investigation, either.

    > If a Muslim did a video “How to Murder The President, Because He is Christian,”

    Um, Threatening to murder the president is a crime.

    Ken

    > I think “we must prosecute this crook, or the terrorists will be mad” and “we must not prosecute this crook, or we will embolden the terrorists” are flip sides of the same coin.

    That’s not my argument. My argument is making this film shouldn’t have made him one bit more likely to get in trouble. Why did they investigate him in the first place? Because he made a movie that pissed off Muslims.

    If they came across this in the ordinary course of business, that would be one thing. But they opened an investigation based on someone’s exercise of free speech.

    This is like the old complaints that if you are en enemy of the President you are more likely to be audited. And its foul.

    And steve makes another good point. So why not investigate, figure out who it was, and quietly revoke his parole. Why tell the whole world he was the film maker? Why not keep the whole thing quiet?

    Comment by Aaron "Worthing" Walker (23789b) — 9/30/2012 @ 12:35 am

  42. Because I do not know even how to shake hands?

    /s/Barry Stanley, Barry Soletero, Barack Hussein Obama.

    Comment by Barry Stanley, Barry Soletero, Barack Hussein Obama. (875f57) — 9/30/2012 @ 12:54 am

  43. Aaron, Nakoula was mana from heaven to the SCOAMF.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 9/30/2012 @ 12:57 am

  44. Who preserves the records of US Presidents? Can we make the SCOAMF “not have happened” to erase our national shame?

    Also … the Constitution does not allow us to meddle with his salary while he’s President. But I see no law, that cannot be repealed, that gives the worthless golf-player a pension and $35m home in Hawaii, after he’s kicked out of office.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 9/30/2012 @ 1:06 am

  45. I have read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you put to make this sort of magnificent informative web site.

    Comment by to (fb4548) — 9/30/2012 @ 4:03 am

  46. @nk:

    Isn’t supervised release still under the Bureau of Prisons?

    No. The Bureau of Prisons only controls you when you are in its custody — when you are serving a custodial sentence. For instance, Nakoula got 21 months imprisonment and five years supervised release for his fraud conviction. He spent 21 months (less 15% for good behavior) in custody of the BOP. When he was released, he’s supervised by the U.S Probation Office during his term of supervised release.

    (The answer is different for people convicted a long time ago, before parole was abolished, like (say) Brett Kimberlin).

    That’s not my argument. My argument is making this film shouldn’t have made him one bit more likely to get in trouble. Why did they investigate him in the first place? Because he made a movie that pissed off Muslims.

    If they came across this in the ordinary course of business, that would be one thing. But they opened an investigation based on someone’s exercise of free speech.

    This is like the old complaints that if you are en enemy of the President you are more likely to be audited. And its foul.

    And steve makes another good point. So why not investigate, figure out who it was, and quietly revoke his parole. Why tell the whole world he was the film maker? Why not keep the whole thing quiet?

    The administration confirming his identity as the filmmaker is certainly subject to criticism and question.

    But we don’t know how the probation officer learned about him or how the process proceeded. If the executive branch influenced the probation office’s treatment of the case, it should be investigated and addressed. But if the probation office saw the publicity — the nature of which made it immediately and obviously apparent that he had violated the terms of his release in serious ways — that’s something else. If that’s the case I think it is misleading to say that “they” investigated him because he pissed off Muslims.

    Comment by Ken (c24d1b) — 9/30/2012 @ 8:10 am

  47. Ken

    The reports i have read, which are linked on my blog, say that the DOJ investigated the film, finding out that bacile was an alias and then identifying him.

    so… why did they investigate him in the first place?

    the whole thing is rotten.

    Having slept on it, i realized that what i am arguing for is really almost like a first amendment exclusionary rule. If a the police tortures a man to get a confession, that confession is excluded from evidence as is any fruits of the poisoned tree, with many exceptions i suspect you are more familiar with than I am. If the police do an illegal search, same thing.

    I think anything discovered by the government in an investigation of a “thoughtcrime” should not be allowed to result in prosecution for the same reason. I don’t doubt that the prosecutor, maybe even the probation officer acted honorably. they see it as just a probation violation as indeed i trust that it is.

    But the initial investigation stinks to high heaven.

    Comment by Aaron "Worthing" Walker (23789b) — 9/30/2012 @ 11:49 am

  48. Thank you, Ken. My last federal case was trademark defense. ;)

    Aaron, he got into the PO’s radar in a very big way. What else could the PO do?

    From what I remember about probation, now he’s only “violated”. Whether he will be “revoked” will be a decision by a judge.

    I accept Ken’s explanation. But … under probation a prisoner is still a prisoner under different conditions.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 9/30/2012 @ 12:02 pm

  49. BTW, our prisoner population, whether on death row, prison, jail, bail, or probation/supervised release, is about 1/6th of our welfare population. Not that the two populations do not overlap.

    The Thirteenth Amendment is a very good thing. But maybe we should have enabled the “duly convicted” part.

    As for bail, Nakoula is not “a danger to the community”. Certainly a flight risk. But his history is fraud, not violence.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 9/30/2012 @ 12:17 pm

  50. 45. But we don’t know how the probation officer learned about him or how the process proceeded. If the executive branch influenced the probation office’s treatment of the case, it should be investigated and addressed. But if the probation office saw the publicity — the nature of which made it immediately and obviously apparent that he had violated the terms of his release in serious ways — that’s something else. If that’s the case I think it is misleading to say that “they” investigated him because he pissed off Muslims.

    Comment by Ken — 9/30/2012 @ 8:10 am

    Is it really something else? The DoJ created the publicity. Until the feds told the AP that Nakoula was in fact the film maker they thought he was just a bit player who knew Bacile. Not that he was Bacile.

    Why should it matter if DoJ went through some sort of official channels to lean on the Federal Probation Service to violate this guy, or through the press to accomplish the same thing?

    Of course, it does matter in one important respect. Had they gone through channels the probation officer might have been able to discreetly haul Nakoula in. By going through the press they ensured that when Nakoula was taken into custody it would have been under the glare of a media feeding frenzy.

    But regarding the outcome regarding this guy’s probation the effect is the same.

    Comment by Steve57 (c8ac21) — 9/30/2012 @ 1:03 pm

  51. What will the Admin do next time the Muslim world wants to silence someobe’s free speech?

    Comment by JD (154fbf) — 9/30/2012 @ 1:18 pm

  52. 50. What will the Admin do next time the Muslim world wants to silence someobe’s free speech?

    Comment by JD — 9/30/2012 @ 1:18 pm

    Probably join the destroyers of the Bamiyan Buddhas Religion of Peace in their push for an international ban on blasphemy.

    Of course, it’ll be a one way street. Let’s juxtapose:

    Egypt Coptic Christian Maikel Nabil charged with “insulting” Islam, Germany requested to send home

    CAIRO: Egyptian Coptic Christian activist Maikel Nabil, who is known internationally as the first prisoner of conscience in the post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt after the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) jailed him for “insulting the military” now faces charges of insulting Islam, he reported on Saturday while in Germany.

    The Egyptian government have requested that the German government return Nabil as soon as possible so he can stand on the charges, Egypt’s Youm al-Saba’a newspaper reported.

    He is being accused of “contempt of the Islamic religion and abuse of the divine.” Also among the charges, the newspaper reported are “insulting the Prophet and his followers.”

    The lawsuit against Nabil says that he “consistently” insults Islam through his online activities, including his Twitter account.

    Muslims have enormous respect for religion and the divine. They demonstrate it on a daily basis.

    Deadly Kenya grenade attack hits children in church

    A police spokesman blamed sympathisers of Somalia’s al-Shabab Islamist militant group, angry over Kenya’s role in the UN-backed intervention force.

    Note how the BBC pays homage to the well-known regard that Muslims have for human life in general that they keep the fact that Muslims bombed a church out of the headline and bury it in the story. Actually, they don’t explicitly say that in the story.

    That’s not allowed in Britain anymore.

    Bangladesh: Muslims torch Buddhist temples, homes

    I guess the AP didn’t get the memo.

    COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AP) — Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims angry over an alleged derogatory photo of the Islamic holy book Quran on Facebook set fires in at least 10 Buddhist temples and 40 homes near the southern border with Myanmar, authorities said Sunday.

    The NY transit authority reads that, and concludes (along with the admin and the Religion of Peace) that we need to restrict speech.

    Comment by Steve57 (c8ac21) — 9/30/2012 @ 1:38 pm

  53. Slightly off topic, perhaps, but has anybody heard word one from those noble denouncers of misguided individuals who deliberately set out to hurt religious feelings at the US embassy in Cairo, or for that matter our brave presidential defender of religious tolerance who spoke of such noble sentiments before the UN general assembly, about this stuff:

    Egyptian Evangelical Church Attacked with Stones and Gas Bombs

    Egypt: Christians flee homes, town after militant threats

    No? I’m sure they would have mentioned it, seeing as how they claim to be acting on general principles of respect for religion, had they noticed. Maybe something distracted them.

    U.S. Move to Give Egypt $450 Million in Aid Meets Resistance

    Ahh! Apparently they were boresighted on extracting the Muslim Brotherhood’s jizya from those tightwad Republicans.

    We’ve come full circle. We formed a Navy and took our first steps toward becoming a world power to free us from paying tribute to the Muslim pirates of North Africa’s Barbary Coast.

    Now we have a President who’s really ticked we did that, and intends to undo all of it.

    Comment by Steve57 (c8ac21) — 9/30/2012 @ 1:58 pm

  54. With respect to a suggestion of a First Amendment exclusionary rule (which I think would be utterly unworkable, in part because it would encourage criminals to attempt to immunize themselves by doing notable offensive things), there’s already an applicable doctrine: selective prosecution. If a defendant can establish that similarly situated people are not prosecuted, or prosecuted differently, for the same conduct, they can have their case dismissed.

    Comment by Ken (c24d1b) — 9/30/2012 @ 2:48 pm

  55. Ken

    > If a defendant can establish that similarly situated people are not prosecuted, or prosecuted differently, for the same conduct, they can have their case dismissed.

    Which doesn’t apply here. I’m talking about how the conduct is discovered.

    Comment by Aaron "Worthing" Walker (23789b) — 10/1/2012 @ 7:47 am

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