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Apparently, Nakoula Basselly Nakoula a.k.a. "Sam Bacile", has been convicted of multiple crimes over the years.

In 1997, Nakoula was convicted on drugs charges.

According to a source close to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was arrested by the L.A. Country Sheriff's Department on March 27, 1997 and charged with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Nov. 3, 1997 to one year in county jail and three years probation. The D.A.’s office said he violated probation on April 8, 2002, and was re-sentenced to another year in county jail.
Then in 2007 he was caught committing bank fraud. He doesn't appear to have been charged with Social Security fraud, but I don't see how this crime couldn't also be considered Social Security fraud.
Nakoula ran afoul of the law in 2010, when he pleaded no contest to federal bank fraud charges after being indicted in a somewhat intricate scheme involving fake bank accounts created using stolen Social Security numbers. He was given a 21 month prison sentence and had to pay $790,000.
And he has the nerve to criticize the security we have in place at our embassies!
The Associated Press, which spoke to Bacile by phone, reported that he went into hiding shortly after the violence erupted at the embassy in Libya. Bacile claimed he felt bad over the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, but blamed his death on poor security at the embassy. “I feel the security system [at the embassies] is no good,” Bacile told the AP. “America should do something to change it.”
UPDATE: Apparently, he wrote his "film" while in prison. I can't seem to embed the ABC News video, but it's worth watching.
The controversial "Innocence of Muslims" was written, produced and directed by a convicted drug manufacturer and scam artist, who has told authorities he actually wrote the script in federal prison and began production two months after his June 2011 release from custody. Authorities say Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, of Cerritos, California, admitted his role in the film.
Update 2: Apparently, as part of his probation, he was ordered not use computers:
Questions remained about whether Nakoula's filmmaking and Internet distribution activities might have violated his federal probation and send him back to prison.

Nakoula pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California and was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered not to use computers, the Internet or online user or screen names for five years without approval from his probation officer. He is still on probation, according to court records.

The YouTube account under the username "Sam Bacile," which was used to publish excerpts of the provocative movie in July, was used again as recently as this week.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Administrative Office of the Courts, which oversees federal probation offices, and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles, which prosecuted Nakoula, declined Thursday to discuss his case. Under court rules, the government can ask a judge to send a convict back to prison if there is probable cause to show that probation conditions were violated.

"You don't have the same First Amendment or Fourth Amendment rights than when you're not on probation," said Jennifer Granick, a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in online crimes. "Until you're done with supervision, you don't have full rights. They can search you without a warrant."

The law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because this official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation, confirmed the AP's earlier reporting that Nakoula was connected to the persona of Sam Bacile, a figure who initially claimed to be the writer and director of the film. Bacile turned out to be a false identity, and the AP tracked a cellphone number used by Bacile to a home in Cerritos where it found Nakoula.

I'll remove this diary if this information has already been posted elsewhere, I looked, and couldn't find it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i had a hunch this would end up (17+ / 0-)

    with meth. the inland socal white supremacist militia connection just screams meth.

  •  sounds like an episode of Breaking Bad (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn, SteelerGrrl

    There's smart, and there's K-mart smart. Sarah Palin is K-mart smart.

    by InsultComicDog on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:32:28 PM PDT

    •  Breaking Bad meets Dexter... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thestral, DRo

      With Romney as Dexter. The irony is that Smirking Mitt makes Dexter seem all warm and fuzzy by comparison. At least Dexter learned how to fake appropriate human emotions!

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:35:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps inciting to riot? n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn, ms badger, SteelerGrrl

    “If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them.”

    by heartobama on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:34:24 PM PDT

    •  I think you could compare this "film"... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ms badger, Lujane, G2geek

      to screaming fire in a crowded theater, but, then again, I'm not a lawyer. So what do I know. I'd love to know what someone qualified to talk seriously about the law thinks.

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:36:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think you can (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The rationale behind the fire in a crowded theatre doctrine is that when someone falsely cries fire in a crowded theatre, reasonable people will, out of instinct alone, endanger and/or harm others in their scramble to escape.

        In this case, the plot--if there was a plot beyond making a vile movie that sought to mock the Muslim religion--would rely upon the unreasonable actions of third parties.

        We used to have a 'fighting words' doctrine in our country but that has long since been done away with under the presumption that other people are expected to behave like grown ups.

        As I understand it, this film did not advocate violence.

        It sounds as if the sketchy history of this filmmaker may give us plenty of legal justification to go after him for tangential issues, but not for the content of this film, IMO.

        Stephanie Dray
        Author of Historical Fiction (Berkley Books)

        by stephdray on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 01:45:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're right. I have long since conceded that... (0+ / 0-)

          the film is covered by the First Amendment in comments elsewhere. While Nakoula fully anticipated, and even hoped, that film would cause violent unrest, as you correctly point out, the film itself did not advocate violence. The film is loathsome, but legal.

          Now, whether his other activities (possible computer usage, etc,) were legal...time will tell.

          You can tell Romney’s depressed. Last night he just sat on his couch and bought the Häagen-Dazs corporation ~ Jimmy Fallon

          by AuroraDawn on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:38:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Who is this person? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, AuroraDawn, Lujane, SteelerGrrl

    How did he get into the U.S.? What's his status? Why was he allowed to remain? Where does he come from? Who are his associates? His profile just screams terrorist to me. Frankly, I'll be amazed if the U.S. leaves him on the streets much longer.

    "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

    by cadejo4 on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:47:56 PM PDT

  •  its protected speech. (6+ / 0-)

    no chance in the universe it could be punished or serve as the basis of civil liability.

    •  Thank you for the answer. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cadejo4, johnny wurster, Lujane, G2geek

      I figured as much. I have a feeling, though, given this guy's criminal past, that the government may discover actual crimes to charge him with. What are the odds that he's on the straight and narrow?

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:58:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shit, he's gone from cooking meth (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster, ssgbryan, G2geek

        and defrauding people to making movies mocking Islam. I'd say he's definitely taken steps in the right direction. Who'd have predicted that making such a movie would end up a worse sin than all the other shit he's done?

        •  Please tell me that's snark. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, G2geek

          Yes, legally he has the right to mock religion. But he had to know that if he made this film, and then posed as a Jewish man, that there would be a huge uproar, and probably also violence. I think it's disgusting that this man was willing to put other people's lives at risk with his "film". If he was really proud of his production, why not use his real name? Why hide behind a fake identity?

          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

          by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:23:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He's a dickhead. That is clear. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            johnny wurster, VClib, acerimusdux

            I'm not amused though by the mob mentality around here. People should be able to make fun of Mohammed or anyone else, and not have their actions limited just because there are a bunch of crazies on the other side of the world. We cannot and should not avoid certain topics just because violent zealots have ordered us to. The anger here should be directed at the people who committed this crime, not the dickhead producer of what looks like a terribly made movie.

            •  I am angry with the... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lujane, G2geek, Lisa Lockwood

              fanatics who committed this crime. Of course, they are primarily responsible. But I think we have a right to ask just who this guy, Nakoula, is? Who gave him the money to make the film? Why was he using a fake name? Why did he choose to pose as a Jew? Was he hoping to incite violence against Jews? Has he committed any crimes other than those he was convicted of?

              No one is suggesting we "avoid certain topics." But presumably, one can discuss religious fundamentalism, whether it's Christian, Jewish, or Muslim in nature - without making a film that is bound to cause acts of violence. Sure, he had the right to make it. I concede that it's covered by free speech. But why risk the lives of others to make this pointless little hit piece?

              It's not like he produced a thoughtful documentary on Islam. Let's not pretend he was attempting to elucidate the subject. He wasn't.

              First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

              by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:39:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If he made a movie mocking Mohammed, (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                johnny wurster, VClib, Lujane

                he did nothing worse than Monte Python did in making Life of Brian, or Tray Parker did in making the Book of Mormon. The difference is that while many Christians and Mormons are crazy, they are not so crazy as to murder innocent people over a movie or play.

                •  Monty Python didn't use a fake name... (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Lujane, G2geek, Lisa Lockwood, DRo

                  and tell the world that they were Jewish and had Jewish backers. It goes to intent as far as I'm concerned. Why did Nakoula lie about his identity? Was he hoping to incite violence against Jews? I can't think of any good reason that this man may have had to pose as a Jew while making an anti-Islamic film.

                  Monty Python didn't set out to harm anyone. They made a (hilarious) set of films. There's a small, but significant, difference IMHO.

                  First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

                  by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:50:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  He said he was a Jew and had 100 (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib, teachme2night

                    rich Jewish backers. He was being a creep, consistent with his life of being a lowlife. But if someone as randomly stupid as this guy can cause grief in the Mideast, we should have much more protection for our foreign service workers there. That is the answer, not for us to try to keep people like this weirdo away from youtube.

                    •  This much I agree with. (5+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Lujane, G2geek, teachme2night, DRo, dotdash2u
                      But if someone as randomly stupid as this guy can cause grief in the Mideast, we should have much more protection for our foreign service workers there.
                      As for keeping him away from Youtube, he was ordered not to use computers by the Court.

                      I would still like to know who was actually backing this guy and why. Maybe they are just a random bunch of jerks. Maybe not. I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to know who helped fund this film, and why they did it.

                      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

                      by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:01:15 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  It's fraud (0+ / 0-)

                      He's on probation for fraud.  And this is another fraud.

                      The elements of fraud are generally (depends on jurisdiction):

                      1. a false statement of a material fact
                      2. made with knowledge that the statement is untrue
                      3. with intent to decieve/ intent it be acted upon
                      4. the falshood was relied on or acted upon
                      5. there was an injury as a result

                      Maybe it's a bit of a reach, but you do potentially have all of the elements of a fraud here.  If you can show that anyone was injured in any way as a result of his lies being believed, you might argue this is a form of fraud.  

                      At the very least there are enough elements there to revoke his probation.  

                      •  He made an untrue movie, that (0+ / 0-)

                        is your "fraud"? I do agree with you that it is a bit of a reach. Just a bit.

                        •  Nothing wrong with the content itself (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          The movie itself is no problem.

                          But he flat out lied and misrepresented himself to everyone involved.  He lied to the cast and crew about what the film was.  He used a false identity.  He claimed he was Jewish and had 100 Jewish investors.  

                          If anyone is hurt by those lies, he could be liable.

                          To be clear, it would be perfectly acceptable to provoke these radical Islamists by insulting their religion.  It is not acceptable to fraudulently represent that someone else is insulting their religion, in order to stir up anger that might injure others.

                          It looks to me like he fraudulently represented this as though it were a Jewish made and financed film that insulted Islam, which was actually being shown in America.  That film didn't even exist.  He dubbed in the Insulting dialog himself.  He made up the fictional Jewish director, Sam Basile.  He made up the investors.  He then may well have actively been involved in having this dubbed in Arabic, and spreading these lies in Eqypt.  There does seem to have been injury as a result of some of these lies being believed.

                          It would be a complicated case, just because you would have to prove each element, and we don't have all the details yet either.  But it certainly looks like all of the elements of fraud could be there.

                      •  They don't need to make that stretch... (0+ / 0-)

                        If authorities revoke his probation, the logical reason would be because Nakoula - assuming he was the one who uploaded the film to Youtube - used a computer after being ordered not to.

                        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

                        by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 03:39:04 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm wondering how much of this fiasco (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AuroraDawn, jayden, G2geek, LucyandByron, DRo

          is also connected to defrauding people?  As in taking a lot of money from somebody else to create this piece of crap expression of his "inner self" that is quite obviously protected speech under US law.

          The guy's a flim flam man who looks to make a quick buck in any way that's open to him.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:37:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  but is it a parole violation? (4+ / 0-)

      that appears to be the operative question, or?

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:35:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, I certainly agree with him (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that there was a lapse in security at our embassy. Not really that controversial a statement, right? If our foreign service workers are vulnerable whenever somebody posts a video on youtube mocking Mohammed, to me that says get more security, pronto.

    •  Perhaps not, if he was a regular citizen... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, DRo

      but it takes nerve, when you are the guy who produced the film that helped cause this mess, to start pointing fingers at other people.

      IA that we need more security, but who is this guy to criticize anyone?

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:17:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know, who are any of us (0+ / 0-)

        to say anything about anything? Obama dramatically increased Mideast embassy security yesterday, so I don't think he disagrees either that it should have been better.

      •  I don't know that it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn, G2geek, DRo

        "takes nerve".  It's basically what people who never want to be held accountable always do.  It seems perfectly in keeping with the character of someone who has the arrest and conviction record that this gentleman has.

        It's more like, exactly what I would expect from someone who has done what this guy is both alleged and on the record of having already done.

        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

        by a gilas girl on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:43:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know that that is true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      These are precisely the kinds of conclusions that Rush Limbaugh and his ilk tend to jump to because they don't ever like to look at the whole picture.

      The vulnerability doesn't come from posting a video on youtube, the vulnerability comes from violence that erupts from manufactured outrage strategically encouraged precisely in spots where violence may be likely.

      That's a somewhat different picture than the one you've laid out.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:40:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm going to go out on a limb (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster

        here and say that I wish there were more security at our embassy in Benghazi. What is the counterclaim, that there WAS enough security there?

        •  The contestation (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AuroraDawn, DRo

          (not a counterclaim) was not about the security, but about your contention that the US personnel were vulnerable because somebody posted a video on youtube.

          the US personnel were vulnerable because of a chain of events that included but were not caused by someone posting a youtube video.

          And we don't know that more security would have prevented the deaths.  It might have added to them.  But we do assume that more security would have prevented the deaths, because that's what we always assume when we are presented with situations of unnatural deaths.

          But I do agree that increasing the security is a wise political move at this point.  Just don't have enough information to say that it is a practical solution to the problem that gave rise to this situation.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 09:42:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Benghazi (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Libya may have been a special case. I'm not sure how closely you're following all the double-speak coming out about it but at least one claim is that the ambassador was killed in an ambush on a secret safe house.

          If that ends up being true, the deficiency in security may not have been that there wasn't enough security but that there was a leak in the security.

          That said, Rice apparently contradicted everything today about a planned attack by a small group of savages and is allegedly claiming it was a spontaneous mob with rocket launchers.

          Stephanie Dray
          Author of Historical Fiction (Berkley Books)

          by stephdray on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 01:52:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Rachel Maddow touched on this last night. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        She didn't comment on the level of security at the US Consulate in Benghazi but she did report on the fact that the #2 AQ deputy killed this past June by the US was Libyan. She also reported that AQ vowed revenge for the death and militants had attacked the consulate earlier this summer to avenge the death of their #2 leader.

        I would hope that heightened security measures were put in place at the US Consulate in Benghazi as a result.

        Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

        by jayden on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:08:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If You Make a Film and Nobody Shows Up (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn, beltane, jayden, DRo

    There's apparently a full length feature film of this, not just the youtube short video, out there.

    They tried showing it and only 11 people showed up at a hollywood theater.

    That was reported on the PBS News Hour tonight along with some other details!

    I just caught the ABC report you mentioned above and came in to see if anyone had posted about the writer.

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:16:56 PM PDT

  •  Just the kind of guy backers would give $5mm to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn, G2geek, LucyandByron

    to make a film with zero payback potential.  Panglozz calling him a fall guy, Bakgr0und N015e calling him a cutout - yeah, I agree.    

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:24:59 PM PDT

  •  Wow, this guy is even dumber than we thought (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn, G2geek, LucyandByron, DRo

    So he uploads a video that goes viral--while he is banned from even using a computer.  He likely would have been caught even without this tragedy happening.

    Romney-Ryan: America's Rollback Team

    by Christian Dem in NC on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:23:44 PM PDT

    •  Perhaps, he thought... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, DRo

      his fake name was so clever that no one would ever figure out it was him? Or maybe he had someone else use the computer, and upload the film to Youtube, in an effort to get around it? Who knows.

      This is a very odd (and tragic) story.

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:34:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But even without this tragedy, you'd have to think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        one of the cast members' relatives and friends would have seen the trailer.

        Romney-Ryan: America's Rollback Team

        by Christian Dem in NC on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:39:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, an intelligent person... (0+ / 0-)

          would make that assumption. I really have no idea what this man was thinking.

          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

          by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:44:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  he wasn't thinking: he was a meth-cooker and.... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AuroraDawn, bakeneko, LucyandByron, DRo

            .... a low-level scammer.  Both times, he probably thought he was too smart to get caught.

            Typical scummy little crook.  

            And "the film" was probably also a great big con: according to people here who have been to film school, the film was just utterly piss-poor, as in, it would get flunked in a high-school level film class.  So if this guy billed himself as a "film maker" and got budget for it, it was just another scam.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 10:28:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn, DRo

    I've been trying to keep abreast of this and do some research on my own.  The meth connection is interesting; can't say I'm surprised that he had other arrests.  The main question for me right now is to what extent he was behind this and to what extent Media For Christ / Joseph Nasralla / Steve Klein / the organized Rightwing were.   They clearly must have facilitated the publicizing of the film without which it would just be a random youtube video probably, but they also have been reported to have arranged permits and more.

    My ongoing research here.

    Week to week livin'. Street to street livin'. All i gots to give, time to man up, and keep livin'" -Gift of Gab

    by Saurav on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 10:31:49 PM PDT

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