Man Believed to be Producer of Anti-Islam Film to Remain in Federal Custody

A judge denied defense attorneys' request to set bail at $10,000 and place Nakoula Besseley Nakoula under house arrest on suspicion of violating probation.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The filmmaker thought to be behind the anti-Islam movie blamed for setting off violence in the Muslim world was arrested on Thursday, accused of violating terms of his probation stemming from a bank fraud conviction. In court, the filmmaker's murky identity was revealed. Michelle Valles reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 27, 2012. (Published Thursday, Sep 27, 2012)

    The California man who many believe to be behind an anti-Muslim video that has inflamed the Islamic world was denied bail Thursday afternoon after a judge deemed him a flight risk.

    Nakoula Besseley Nakoula, from Cerritos, remains in federal custody after being arrested hours earlier on suspicion of violating the terms of his parole, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney's Office.

    Nakoula's arrest was sought by officials of the United States Probation Office, spokesman Thom Mrozek said.

    Nakoula's probation hearing was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. It adjourned at about 5:40 p.m. The believed filmmaker, who was handcuffed and chained around his waist, waived his right to a preliminary hearing. A future court date has not yet been determined.

    MORE: Film Will Stay Up, Judge Says | Actors Plan to Sue Filmmaker | Coptic Leaders Denounce Film

    Nakoula was indicted for check fraud in 2009 and then convicted. As a condition of his probation, he was forbidden to post information on the Internet without permission from his parole officer.

    Probation officers on Thursday alleged Nakoula violated eight terms of his probation, including using an alias. Officers also alleged Nakoula gave conflicting information about travelling abroad and has an "unstable residence pattern."

    U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal's decision to deem Nakoula a flight risk was based in part on his apparently rampant use of pseudonyms. Prosecutors alleged the man used one name on his drivers license, another on his passport and another moniker to obtain a film permit, suggesting a lengthy pattern of deception.

    The defense asked Nakoula's bail be set at $10,000 and that he be put under house arrest, claiming that he would be in danger in the Metropolitan Detention Center due to a large population of Muslims.

    Segal -- who also barred the suspect's face from being recorded by news cameras -- denied that request, saying he would be safer in the detention center than in public.

    Deputies escorted Nakoula from his Cerritos, Calif., home on Sept. 14 to be interviewed by federal probation officers. At the time, media and law enforcement had been staking out the home at the end of a cul-de-sac for about 48 hours when the man emerged wearing a coat, hat, scarf and glasses.

    Nakoula is believed to be the producer of the film "Innocence of Muslims," which denigrated the Prophet Mohammed. Any images of the Prophet, let alone negative depictions, are prohibited in Islam.

    A self-described Coptic Christian who was born in Egypt, Nakoula is said to go by the pseudonym Sam Bassiel. That moniker caused widespread confusion when the film was first released earlier this month after someone associated with the film said that the producer was an Israeli Jew with that name.

    The amateurish 14-minute video, which was distributed online, prompted riots throughout the Middle East, and was cited as a cause for violent protests that led to the deaths of U.S. diplomats and others in Libya. Among those killed were U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.

    Others have disputed that the video was the cause of the violence in Libya. On Wednesday, Libyan President Mohammed Magarief said that the attacks on the U.S. Consulate there were carefully planned terrorist events, not the actions of a mob angry about the video.

    Olivia Santini contributed to this report.

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