LOS ANGELES - A US man behind a defaming film of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) was due to appear in court on Wednesday, October 10, for a hearing on whether he violated his probation on a bank fraud conviction.
"It will be interesting to see what the judge does and what the reaction is around the world," Stan Goldman, a Loyola Law School professor, told Reuters.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was due to appear before a US district court judge on Wednesday to see whether he should be sent back to prison for violating his probation terms.
The Egyptian-born man, who goes now by the name Mark Basseley Youssef, is believed to be behind an anti-Prophet movie that triggered massive protests around the world last month.
Titled Innocence of Muslims, the movie portrays the Prophet as a fool, philanderer and a religious fake.
The offensive material sparked a torrent of anti-American protests around the world last month that left score of people dead.
The violence coincided with an attack on US diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya.
Nakoula was arrested last month and kept in custody for violation his probation on a bank fraud conviction.
Prosecutors have said they could seek to have Youssef, 55, sent back to prison for up to two years if he is found to have violated his probation.
Under the terms of his release from prison last year, Nakoula is barred from using aliases without the permission of a probation officer and was restricted from accessing the Internet.
He is facing eight possible probation violations, including the use of aliases, prosecutors said.
Goldman said attorneys for the filmmaker could argue the terms of his 2011 release from prison in the bank fraud case did not apply directly to his recent activities.
"It's not exactly like an armed robber on probation, getting caught with an automatic weapon in his possession. It's a little more technical," Goldman said.
Nakoula has been known to federal law enforcement for other reasons long before the anti-prophet video emerged.
He pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 2010 and was sentenced to 21 months in prison, to be followed by five years on supervised probation, court documents showed.
He was released from prison in June 2011, shortly before production began on the video, prison records show.
He was accused of fraudulently opening bank and credit card accounts using Social Security numbers that did not match the names given on applications, according to a criminal complaint.
Nakoula also pleaded guilty in 1997 to possession with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and was sentenced to a year in jail, Sandi Gibbons.
The probation issues were the latest of Nakoula's legal woes.
An actress who says she was duped into appearing in the anti-prophet film has sued him over the matter, identifying him as the film's producer.
Cindy Lee Garcia also named YouTube and its parent company Google Inc as defendants in the case.Google has refused to remove the film from YouTube, despite pressure from the White House and others to take it down, though the company has blocked the trailer in Egypt, Libya and other Muslim countries.