Locked up Anti-Islam filmmaker handed one year prison sentence

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale said some cast members have received death threats and feared for their lives.

The film touched off a torrent of anti-American unrest in Arab and Muslim countries. The start of the violence on Sept. 11 coincided with an attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

U.S. and other foreign embassies were also stormed in various cities across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is considered blasphemous.

Defense lawyer Steven Seiden told reporters after Wednesday's hearing that the government was using its probation case to punish Youssef for making the film, thus chilling his client's constitutional rights to freedom of expression.

"This hearing had everything to do with the movie," he said.

Dugdale said in court that Youssef was not being prosecuted for the content of his film but because "the way he made this movie, he did defraud people," in part by operating under an assumed identity.

Youssef appeared in court in a white jumpsuit, his hands shackled to his waist. He said little, and an Arabic translator was used to communicate with him.

While in protective custody since his arrest, Youssef has remained essentially isolated and unable to see his relatives, except for brief glimpses he can catch in courtrooms, Seiden said.

The defense lawyer also told reporters his client wrote the script for the video and may have served as a "cultural consultant" on the video, but does not own rights to it.

Youssef previously was convicted of fraudulently obtaining 641 credit and debit cards and 60 bank accounts, defrauding banks of $800,000, Dugdale said.

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