Controversial anti-Muslim filmmaker Mark Bassely Youssef has agreed to a plea deal to spend one year in prison.
Youssef, who also goes by several aliases, earlier made headlines when a clip of his Internet film "Innocence of Muslims" was blamed for sparking violence across the Middle East. Youssef and many of the actors in the film received death threats and other blowback from the film, reports The Associated Press.
Youssef was accused of not being truthful with the actors over the message of the movie, and for changing the actors' dialogue without their consent. However, Youssef will not be going to prison because of the movie. Instead, he'll spend the next year behind bars for unrelated probation violations.
The Egyptian-born Christian filmmaker pleaded guilty to four of the eight probation violation charges he faced. Those included allegations that he fraudulently obtained a driver's license and used several false names, reports the AP.
Youssef was on probation for a previous felony check-fraud scheme for which he was sentenced to 21 months in prison. He was released before serving his entire sentence, and his probation required him to avoid using fake names.
Despite the plea deal having nothing to do with his film, Youssef still used his opportunity before a public forum to make a statement. Through his attorney, Youssef warned that President Obama may have gotten Osama bin Laden, but he didn't kill the ideology that bin Laden represents, reports the AP.
In his film, Youssef portrayed the Prophet Muhammad as a religious fraud, womanizer, and pedophile. The film even prompted a Pakistani cabinet minister to offer a $100,000 bounty for the filmmaker's killing.
Youssef had previously been held in solitary confinement. Given his lack of contrition, prison officials may need to keep him in solitary for the next year, for his own safety.
- Mark Basseley Youssef, 'Innocence Of Muslims' Producer, Sentenced To Year In Prison (The Huffington Post)
- 'Innocence of Muslims' Director's Arrest Due to Lies, Deception? (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- YouTube, Filmmaker Sued for 'Innocence of Muslims,' Video to Stay for Now (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- 'Innocence of Muslims' Filmmaker Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison (FindLaw's Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog)