A Southern California man who reportedly acted as a consultant for an anti-Islam film that sparked massive protests in the Middle East once sued San Clemente after police stopped him from placing anti-immigration flyers on unoccupied cars.
Steve Klein—who reportedly belongs to the radical right-wing Church at Kaweah, just south of Sequoia National Park—worked on the film, according to the Los Angeles Times. A 13-minute trailer for the film, The Innocence of Muslims, is posted on YouTube.
The film caused huge protests in Egypt, but reports are conflicted on whether it ignited the conflagration that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. citizens in an attack on the consulate there.
In June 2007, Klein was in downtown San Clemente passing out anti-immigration flyers to pedestrians. But Orange County sheriff's deputies stopped him when he tried to put some of the leaflets under the windshield wipers of unoccupied cars, according to U.S. appellate court documents.
Deputies cited a city anti-littering law that banned anyone from papering parked cars on city streets.
When Klein and his "cohorts" sued the city, a U.S. district judge issued an injunction against him. However, in August 2008, an appellate court ruled that Klein was allowed to keep putting flyers on parked cars in the city.
Judge Marsha S. Berzon, who wrote the opinion, said preventing litter wasn't enough justification to curtail Klein's free speech rights. She cited various legal precedents and readers may examine her opinion in the PDF file attached to this article.
Klein (an insurance man in Hemet, according to the Times) has been involved in radical right-wing propaganda for more than four decades, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups all over the country.
In 1977, Klein founded Courageous Christians United—a church that protests abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques, SPLC reported in spring of this year.
Klein also reportedly has ties to the Minuteman movement, a quasi-militia that actively patrols the border and denounces illegal immigration.
"In addition to working with... the Church at Kaweah’s militia, Klein conducts drills with the Christian Guardians, a San Francisco-based group headed by Andrew Saqib James, an American-born Pakistani Christian who calls Islam 'a giant crime syndicate,' " SPLC reported.