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US jails anti-Islam film-maker

Controversial anti-Islam film-maker jailed for a series of criminal offences relating to false aliases.
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2012 11:00
Youssef issued a provocative statement through his lawyer Steven Seiden to the press [Reuters]

Mark Basseley Youssef, the conman behind an anti-Muslim film that led to violence in many parts of the Middle East, has been given a one-year prison sentence for probation violations unrelated to the film.

The sentence was handed down on Wednesday after a plea bargain was reached between solicitors for Youssef and federal prosecutors.

Youssef admitted to using several false names and violating his probation order by obtaining a fraudulent California driver's license under a false name to commit bank fraud.

US District Court Judge Christina Snyder accepted the plea agreement and immediately sentenced Youssef after he admitted to four of the eight alleged violations.

Shortly after Youssef left the courtroom, he issued a provocative statement through his solicitor, Steven Seiden.

"The one thing he wanted me to tell all of you is President Obama may have gotten Osama bin Laden, but he didn't kill the ideology," Seiden said.

Asked what that meant, Seiden said, "I didn't ask him, and I don't know."

Prosecutors agreed to drop the other four allegations under the plea deal, which also included more probation time.

Both sides agreed that none of the violations were a consequence of the content of "Innocence of Muslims," a film seen as offensive by Muslims.  

Deadly violence related to the film broke out on September 11 and spread to many parts of the Middle East.

But Assistant US Attorney Robert Dugdale argued Youssef's lies about his identity had caused harm to others, including the film's cast and crew.

"They had no idea he was a recently released felon," Dugdale said on Wednesday. "Had they known that, they might have had second thoughts" about partaking in the film.

He said they had received death threats and felt that their careers had been ruined.

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