Alleged ‘Innocence of Muslims’ filmmaker in hiding with family
The filmmaker allegedly behind the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" movie who was voluntarily questioned by federal authorities over the weekend is now in hiding with his family.
Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was questioned and allowed to leave the Cerritos substation. He was not arrested or detained.
His family left their Cerritos home Monday morning, where they had been surrounded by media crews and holed up since last week. Whitmore said they are meeting up with Nakoula at an undisclosed location.
Nakoula is reportedly fearful for his life after the film generated widespread outrage in the Middle East and has prompted anti-American violence in numerous countries. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last week.
Deputies picked up Nakoula at his Cerritos home on behalf of federal probation officials shortly after midnight on Saturday. Nakoula was whisked away by a waiting car, his identity shrouded by a white scarf covering his face. He wore a heavy winter coat and kept his hands in his pockets.
A U.S. Courts spokeswoman said Friday that federal probation officials were reviewing whether Nakoula, who was convicted on bank fraud charges, violated terms of his probation in relation to the video and its uploading onto the Internet.
He had been ordered not to own or use devices with access to the Internet without approval from his probation officer -- and any approved computers were to be used for work only. "Defendant shall not access a computer for any other purpose," the terms read.
Restrictions were also placed on his enlisting others to access the Internet for him.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies picked up Nakoula Basseley Nakoula at his Cerritos home early Saturday. He was taken in for voluntary questioning. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times