Maker of Anti-Muslim Movie Arrested
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.