“Innocence of Muslims” director sentenced

The alleged creator of a film that sparked riots will spend a year in jail.


Chase Hoffberger


Published Nov 8, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 7:48 am CDT

The man held responsible for making the anti-Muslim film that’s sparked riots throughout the world was sentenced to a year in prison Wednesday because he violated the terms of his parole.

Mark Basseley Youssef (né Nakoula Basseley Nakoula) was sentenced to one year in confinement and four years of supervised release by United States district court judge Christina Snyder, who ruled that the California man alleged to have created and released the much-maligned “Innocence of Muslims” film was guilty of four major violations of his parole, including lying to his probation officer and using a string of bogus names.

Youssef had been part of a double-secret supervised release program—a high-surveillance type of federal probation—that stemmed from his 2010 arrest for bank and credit card fraud, a slew of deceits that is alleged to have caused more than $800,000 in losses.

On Wednesday, Youssef pleaded for a sentence of home confinement but was denied by Judge Snyder, who cited the filmmaker’s “continuing deception” throughout his two-year legal saga. Youssef, who has been barred from using any aliases, holds a passport under one name, a driver’s license under another, and worked on the film under a third.

Youssef’s “Innocence of Muslims” was a major talking point of the summer news cycle, a YouTube-shared trailer to a film that depicted the prophet Muhammad as both a philanderer and a pedophile. Its release and subsequent spread evoked assassinations, lawsuits, and high profile arrests.

Youssef had previously denied any involvement in the film, though on Tuesday his lawyer said that Youssef wrote the film’s script and acted as a “cultural consultant,” but did not own the film, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Photo via Bonsai Sky/Twitter

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*First Published: Nov 8, 2012, 12:38 pm CST