Anti-Muslim Filmmaker Says He’s Innocent, Didn’t Spark Middle East Violence

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Scene from Innocence of Muslims.

Mark Basseley Youssef, the California man behind Innocence of Muslims, denied in court on Wednesday that he violated the terms of his parole, which stems from a 2010 bank fraud conviction. Prosecutors say that Youssef, who legally changed his name from Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in 2002, used a variety of aliases and lied to probation officers, saying his role in the anti-Muslim film was limited to writing the script. Youssef's attorney, Steve Seiden, asked to have his client taken out of protective custody today, though earlier he said he might not be safe with the L.A. prison's large Muslim population. After the hearing Seiden wouldn't explain why he wants Youssef moved, but he did tell reporters, "My client was not the cause of the violence in the Middle East ... Clearly it was preplanned and that was just an excuse and a trigger point to have more violence." It appears Seiden was referring to the State Department's new claim that the deadly September 11 attack in Libya had nothing to do with the amateurish YouTube clip, but that doesn't apply to the dozens of other protests around the world.