The Californian who produced the anti-Muslim film which led to anti-American violence throughout the Middle East was sentenced Wednesday to a year in federal prison, not for crimes against Islam, but for violating the terms of his probation, AP reports.
In a plea bargain between Mark Basseley Youssef and federal prosecutors, Youssef admitted in open court that he had used a number of false names, in direct violation of his probation order, including obtaining a driver’s license under a false name.
Youssef was on probation for a bank fraud case.
Youssef’s attorney, Steven Seiden, later told reporters outside the court house that he had a message for them from his client.
“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,” Seiden said.
Asked to elaborate, the attorney said, “I didn’t ask him, and I don’t know.”
All the parties to the plea deal agreed that the violations had nothing to do with “Innocence of Muslims,” Youssef’s film that depicts Mohammad as a religious fraud, pedophile and womanizer.
But, of course, everybody also knew that, had Youssef not produced that idiotic film, he would have been allowed to go on with his grifter’s life at least until he got caught stealing something serious again.
Still, according to AP, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale argued that Youssef’s lies about his identity have caused harm to others, including the film’s cast and crew, who found themselves in the midst of an apparent plot to spread deadly violence to many parts of the Middle East.
“They had no idea he was a recently released felon,” Dugdale said. “Had they known that, they might have had second thoughts” about doing the film.
Dugdale said members of the crew had received death threats, and they fear their careers are ruined.
Youssef, 55, was arrested in late September, just weeks after he went into hiding when the deadly violence erupted.
A Pakistani cabinet minister even offering $100,000 to anyone who kills Youssef. This might force the federal prison authorities to take special measures in protecting him.