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'Innocence of Muslims' director meets the press, plans movie and TV series

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The writer/director of Innocence of Muslims, the anti-Islam movie that provoked deadly riots and demonstrations in the Middle East when a 13-minute trailer appeared on the Internet in September 2012, has been released from a California halfway house after serving almost a year in detention for probation violation. Though Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. Mark Basseley Youssef, a Coptic Christian who emigrated from Egypt, feels horrible for what happened — “I felt I did a big mistake,” he says. “Some people died because of my movie” — he’s moving ahead with projects that will help spread the message that he insists is at the center of his controversial film.

“My movie was not a religious movie,” he says. “It’s a political movie against terrorism, which has a root. We have to dig; we have to dig the root out to be terrorism free. Believe me, I grow up in this culture and I know how they think. That’s why I try to deliver my information. Somebody get mad, so what.”
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Egypt court sentences eight to death over 'Innocence of Muslims'

An Egyptian court has convicted in absentia seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor and sentenced them to death on charges linked to an anti-Islam film that had sparked riots in parts of the Muslim world.

Egypt’s official news agency said the court found the defendants guilty Wednesday of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam, and spreading false information. The charges carry the death sentence in Egypt.

The case was largely symbolic since the seven men and one woman are outside of Egypt and unlikely to travel to the country to face the charges. The trial was seen as an attempt to absorb public anger over the film, which portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and buffoon.

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‘Innocence of Muslims’ filmmaker makes first public comments since being jailed
California man behind anti-Muslim film sentenced to year in prison
‘Innocence of Muslims’ filmmaker appears in court

'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker makes first public comments since being jailed

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Since being jailed for the past two months in Los Angeles after being arrested for violating his supervised release on a fraud conviction, Innocence of Muslims filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has remained mum to the public — until now.

Nakoula told The New York Times through written responses via his lawyer in a story published Sunday that he absolutely does not regret making his anti-Muhammad film. The movie’s bare bones 14-minute trailer on YouTube sparked bloody outrage throughout the Middle East in September.

“I thought, before I wrote this script, that I should burn myself in a public square to let the American people and the people of the world know this message that I believe in,” said Nakoula, a 55-year-old Coptic Christian born in Egypt.  READ FULL STORY

California man behind anti-Muslim film sentenced to year in prison

A California man who was behind an anti-Muslim film that led to violence in the Middle East has been sentenced to one year in prison for violating probation stemming from a 2010 bank fraud conviction.

Fifty-five-year-old Mark Basseley Youssef was immediately sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder after he admitted four of eight alleged violations including obtaining a fraudulent California driver’s license.

Youssef served most of a 21-month prison term in the bank fraud case. Federal authorities wanted Youssef to serve two years for the violations.

None of the violations had to do with the content of “Innocence of Muslims,” a film that depicts Mohammad as a religious fraud, pedophile and a womanizer. The movie sparked violence in Libya and other parts of the Middle East, killing dozens.

Related:
Man behind anti-Islam ‘Innocence of Muslims’ arrested on investigation of violating probation
Brazilian court bans ‘Innocence of Muslims’
Iran will boycott 2013 Oscars due to ‘Innocence of Muslims’

UPDATE: Man behind anti-Islam 'Innocence of Muslims' arrested on investigation of violating probation

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The California man behind the anti-Islamic, poorly made video Innocence of Muslims which has fueled massive protests and outrage in the Middle East has been arrested on investigation of violating the terms of his probation, a federal official confirmed to EW on Thursday.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was set to appear in U.S. District Court on Thursday afternoon, said Thom Mrozek, a United States Attorney’s Office spokesman in Los Angeles.

“Mr. Nakoula was arrested pursuant to allegations made by the United States Probation Office that he has violated the terms of his supervised release,” Mrozek said.

Controversy and mystery have swirled around Nakoula, who has been identified as the man behind a 14-minute trailer posted to YouTube for Innocence of Muslims, which depicts the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a pedophile and womanizer. Nakoula is a Coptic Christian based in Southern California.

Multiple actors and actresses in the low budget film have spoken out against it, including actress Cindy Lee Garcia, who has sued Nakoula, YouTube and its owner Google to get the trailer removed, saying she was duped, and that the original script did not mention Muhammad.

Update:

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Mrozek told EW that the U.S. District Court judge, during Nakoula’s hearing Thursday, had ordered Nakoula detained without bond. “The judge in the case will schedule a hearing to consider the allegations and determine if he violated the terms of his release,” said Mrozek. Nakoula was placed on probation for a bank fraud conviction in 2010. He has since allegedly used various aliases.

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Iran will boycott 2013 Oscars due to ‘Innocence of Muslims’
UPDATE: Judge denies ‘Innocence of Muslims’ actress request to have YouTube video removed

Brazilian court bans 'Innocence of Muslims'

A Brazilian court on Tuesday banned an online anti-Islam movie that spawned violent protests across the Muslim world and gave YouTube 10 days to pull the film’s trailer from its website.

The decision by a state court in Sao Paulo, home to a large Middle Eastern immigrant community, came hours after Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff criticized “Islamophobia” in Western countries in a speech at the United Nations.

The lawsuit against the controversial film was brought by a Brazilian Muslim group, the National Islamic Union, against YouTube owner Google Inc for posting on the Internet a film it said was offensive and a violation of the constitutional right to freedom of religion. READ FULL STORY

Iran will boycott 2013 Oscars due to 'Innocence of Muslims'

Iran’s culture minister said Monday that his country will boycott the 2013 Oscars in the wake of the anti-Islam video made in the United States that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.

An Iranian film won an Oscar in the foreign film category in February. But Mohammed Hosseini said the Islamic Republic would not field an entry for next year’s awards due to the low-budget video he dubbed “an intolerable insult to the Prophet of Islam,” the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported. Hosseini urged other Islamic countries to also boycott.

He confirmed that the committee in charge of selecting Iran’s entry has already picked Ye Habbeh Ghand, or A Cube of Sugar – a film about a family wedding turning into a funeral when the groom’s relative dies — to compete for best foreign film.

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won the 2012 Oscar for best foreign film for his movie, A Separation — the first such prize for Iran.  READ FULL STORY

Iran threatens Oscar boycott over 'Innocence of Muslims'

An official says Iran should boycott the 2013 Oscars in the wake of the anti-Islam film that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.

Javad Shamaghdari, from the government-controlled cinema agency, says Iran should “avoid” the Hollywood festival.

The semi-official Mehr news agency on Monday quoted Shamaghdari as urging the committee in charge of selecting Iran’s choice to take a step back. READ FULL STORY

UPDATE: Judge denies 'Innocence of Muslims' actress request to have YouTube video removed

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A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Thursday denied a request by an actress in the controversial Muhammad-mocking film Innocence of Muslims to have the trailer removed from YouTube, the woman’s attorney told EW.com.

Judge Luis Lavin rejected California actress Cindy Lee Garcia’s request to remove the offensive trailer because there was “not a sufficient showing of evidence,” citing a federal law called the Communications Decency Act, confirmed Garcia’s lawyer Cris Armenta.

Garcia said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the film’s producer Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, also known as Sam Bacile, YouTube, and its owner Google, that Nakoula had duped her, that there was no mention of Muhammad during filming, and that she had “suffered severe emotional distress, the destruction of her career and reputation, the loss of her family and her livelihood” as a result of the widespread response to the video, including violent protests in the Middle East.

Emails to a YouTube spokesperson seeking comment to Thursday’s court ruling were not immediately returned.

Update:
Garcia’s attorney Armenta released an additional statement later Thursday on behalf of Garcia, stating, “By speaking publicly, Ms. Garcia has done the best she can to protect herself from harm. … Ms. Garcia has received numerous credible death threats. Her family and life have been completely disrupted, and she intends to tell the world that she does not condone the manner in which her performance was puppeteered into making it appear that she is a bigot.” Garcia intends to file a motion for a preliminary injunction, and a hearing will be within the next month, depending on the court’s schedule, according to Armenta.

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‘Innocence of Muslims’ actress sues film’s producer, YouTube, Google

'Innocence of Muslims' actress sues film's producer, YouTube, Google

CINDY-LEE-GARCIA

A California actress in the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims, which has sparked violent outrage in the Middle East after clips and a trailer were posted online, has sued the film’s controversial producer and YouTube, claiming fraud, slander and overall emotional distress.

Cindy Lee Garcia, who has told multiple outlets that she and her family have received death threats over the film, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday against the movie’s murky producer Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, also known as Sam Bacile, YouTube, its owner Google and 200 unnamed defendants, according to court documents obtained by EW.com.

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