Federal probation department investigates filmmaker

Associated PressSeptember 14, 2012 

WASHINGTON -- A federal probation office is looking into the case of the anti-Muslim filmmaker whose work is inflaming the Middle East.

The probation department in California's central district is reviewing the case of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was previously convicted on bank fraud charges and was banned from using computers or the Internet as part of his sentence. He's still on probation.

Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the administrative office of the U.S. courts, confirmed Friday the review is under way. If the probation department determines Nakoula violated terms of his release, a judge could send him back to prison.

Nakoula pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California and was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was also sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and was ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.

It could be difficult to establish a probation violation against Nakoula. In the federal court system, the conditions of supervised release are geared toward the offense for which a defendant was found guilty and imprisoned; in Nakoula's case, bank fraud.

Federal authorities have identified Nakoula, a self-described Coptic Christian, as the key figure behind the anti-Muslim film that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Mideast, a U.S. law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday.

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