Via Mark Bennett, I see that Los Angeles Times is reporting that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker of the "Innocence of Muslims" film I've discussed here, has been arrested for supervised release violations (which the Times incorrectly calls probation violations).
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker behind the controversial “Innocence of Muslims” movie that has sparked days of rioting across the Muslim world, has been arrested on suspicion of violating terms of his probation, federal authorities said.
He is expected to appear in federal court Thursday afternoon.
I've gone to PACER and verified that there is an under-seal pleading, the entry of which on the docket is consistent with the judge issuing a warrant based on a request from a probation officer:
PROBATION FORM 12 as to Defendant Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, ORDER OF THE COURT by Judge Christina A. Snyder. (gk) (Entered: 09/27/2012)
I've discussed before what Nakoula may have done that would inspire a revocation proceeding. As I said before, I suspect the issues will be (1) using computers and the internet to an extent that violates his terms of supervised release, (2) using an alias, and (3) using bank accounts and funds without disclosing them to his probation officer. Here is my post about his conviction, including a link to his judgment and commitment order with his terms of supervised release.
Like I previously said, the use-of-computers accusation is not one that I would normally expect to result in a revocation proceeding; I'd expect him to get a warning, unless the use of computers involved fraud, or unless he was a convicted hacker. However, given Nakoula's underlying fraud conviction and the $700,000 in restitution he owes, revocation proceedings would not surprise me at all if his probation officer determines that he used aliases and conducted undisclosed financial transactions. Remember: the limits on alias and undisclosed bank accounts isn't only designed to prevent him from committing fraud again; it's designed to make sure that he's paying as much restitution as he can. In fact, I would be very surprised if a guy with such a fraud conviction who produced a movie under an alias and engaged in undisclosed financial transactions didn't get hit with a revocation proceeding, whatever the nature of the movie.
The nature of the charges, and how the matter proceeds, will be evidence we should review to test the accusation some have made that the Obama Administration induced the U.S. Probation Office (an arm of the U.S. Courts, not of the executive branch) to investigate. If that happened, it's a matter of grave concern that should have serious consequences. But I'd like to see evidence of it before reaching any conclusion.
More as events warrant.
[Cry havoc, and let slip the accusations of me being an anti-free-speech Obamabot. 'tis the silly season.]
Edited to add: I'm seeing reports the arraignment was closed to the public and the media. That's incredibly unusual.
Edited to add again: Procedure for supervised release revocation is governed by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1. To summarize, the steps are an initial appearance with a bail determination, a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to believe the violation occurred, and then a full revocation hearing.
Another Edit: There's conflicting reports on what hearing was closed. ABC is reporting that (1) there were 8 violations alleged (which supports my suspicion that it's more than just using computers, and (2) that he was detained without bail based on both flight risk and danger to the community (those are the two factors judges consider under the federal bail laws in determining bail). Now, flight risk I can see; danger to the community sounds like bullshit to me, unless it's financial danger to fraud victims.
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