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Anti-Muslim Filmmaker Sentenced to Prison

RIA Novosti

19:56 08/11/2012 WASHINGTON, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - A California man whose anti-Muslim film outraged many and led to violent anti-American protests in the Middle East has been sentenced to a year in prison for probation violations in an unrelated case – but sent a final message to reporters that appears to uphold his controversial beliefs.

Shackled and under heavy security, Mark Bassely Youssef pleaded guilty in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday to four counts of violating the terms of his probation in an earlier fraud case, and prosecutors agreed to dismiss four other charges, according to The Associated Press (AP).

The 55-year-old Youssef’s Innocence of Muslims depicted the prophet Mohammed in a graphically offensive manner, as a sex-starved killer and child molester.

Youssef went into hiding and was later arrested when the previews of the film were posted on YouTube and led to violent protests in Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Iran, Iraq and elsewhere.

On the courthouse steps after the sentencing, Youssef’s attorney delivered a message to the media.

"The one thing he wanted me to tell all of you is: President Obama may have gotten Osama bin Laden, but he didn't kill the ideology," attorney Steven Seiden said, AP reported. Seiden said he didn’t know what that meant.

Assistant US Attorney Robert Dugdale said some crew members and actors in the film were shocked at the final product, and claim some of their words were changed in the editing process.

Some had received death threats, Dugdale added, and said Youssef’s lies put them at risk.

"They had no idea he was a recently released felon," Dugdale said Wednesday. "Had they known that, they might have had second thoughts" about being in the film.

Youssef’s earlier probation had barred him from using computers or accessing the Internet without permission.

His attorney says Youssef has admitted to writing the script for the film and working as an “adviser,” but it is not clear what further role he may have had in producing the film or having it posted online.

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