They haven’t gotten a chance to have the case reheard yet but Google has dodged a financial bullet in the seemingly never ending matter of the anti-Islam film Innocence Of Muslims. Late last night, the 9th Circuit succinctly rejected an emergency motion from actress Cindy Lee Garcia last week seeking more than $127 million in penalties against the tech giant for not complying with a surprising February 26 court order to take down the controversial video. “Appellant’s emergency contempt motion is denied,” ordered a 3-Judge panel on March 31 (read it here) in response to Garcia’s March 25 filing. Google, according to Garcia, is taking its time taking down the inflammatory 2012 14-minute video and even going so far as asking the actress to provide them with “each and every individual URL” that’s still on the tech company’s platform. One of the places the video was still available, according to Garcia, was Egypt – the nation where the actress received an execution threat for her brief appearance in Innocence. Google has long argued that Garcia had no copyright claim on the video, which she appears for 5 seconds, and to take it down is an affront to free speech.
The producer of the anti-Islam film The Innocence Of Muslims has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for probation violations. Mark Basseley Youssef, aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, admitted in a hearing in Los Angeles today to four allegations of using fake identities. Judge Christina Snyder also ruled that Youssef must submit to four years of supervised release after he gets out of jail. In exchange for his guilty plea, four other violation allegations were dropped by federal authorities. Youssef was arrested September 27 on eight counts of probation violations and has been in custody ever since. His last hearing on the matter was on October 10, when a November 9 hearing was set. That hearing, now abandoned, was to have the U.S. Attorney prove that Youssef broke terms of his probation on a 2009 bank fraud conviction by making and uploading The Innocence Of Muslims’ 14-minute trailer onto YouTube. That action set off a chain of violent and deadly protests in the Muslim world in September. The allegations related to the film were not a part of the violations that lead to today’s sentencing.
A federal judge today denied Cindy Lee Garcia her request for a temporary restraining order against YouTube and Google to take down the anti-Islam film Innocence Of Muslims. “Ex parte applications solely for extraordinary relief are rarely granted,” wrote Judge Michael Fitzgerald. He has set a November 19 court hearing on Garcia’s preliminary injunction request. Citing free speech, YouTube and Google have repeatedly refused to take down the 14-minute Muslims clip, which has caused violent protests against the filmmakers and the U.S. throughout the Muslim world. The short ruling (read it here) today comes a day after Garcia’s lawyer Cris Armenta filed hundreds of pages of documents in support of her client’s request. The federal lawsuit, first filed September 26, also asserts a copyright claim to her performance in the video.
The producer of the controversial anti-Islam film The Innocence Of Muslims will stay in jail after he denied under oath in U.S. District Court today that he violated the terms of his probation. Judge Christina Snyder ruled in a downtown LA courtroom that Mark Basseley Youssef, aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, will remain in custody, and she set a November 9 hearing in which the U.S. Attorney will be asked to prove Youssef broke the terms of his probation on a 2009 bank fraud conviction by making and uploading the film’s 14-minute trailer onto YouTube. That action last month set off a chain of violent and deadly protests in the Muslim world.
Youssef went into hiding amid the outrage and was arrested September 27 on eight counts of probation violations. He has been in custody ever since. His attorney Steven Seiden today called the arrest an “excuse” to jail Youssef, saying after the hearing that “my client is not the cause of the violence in the Middle East.”