Friday, May 24, 2013
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — A Southern California filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie inflaming protests across the Middle East was interviewed and released Saturday by federal probation officers at a Los Angeles sheriff's station, authorities said.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was interviewed for about half an hour at the station shortly after 12 a.m. in his hometown of Cerritos, Calif., said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Los Angeles County sheriff's department.
After that, deputies dropped Nakoula off at an undisclosed location.
"He is gone. We don't know where he went," Whitmore said. "He said he is not going back to his home."
Federal officials are investigating whether Nakoula, who has been convicted of financial crimes, has violated the terms of his five-year probation. If so, a judge could send him back to prison.
The probation department is reviewing the case of Nakoula, who pleaded no contest to bank fraud charges in 2010 and was banned from using computers or the Internet or using false identities as part of his sentence.
Federal authorities have identified Nakoula, a self-described Coptic Christian, as the key figure behind "Innocence of Muslims," a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Middle East.
Much of the film was shot inside the offices of Media for Christ, a nonprofit based in the Los Angeles-area city of Duarte. The charity raised more than $1 million last year "to glow Jesus' light" to the world.