'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker arrested on probation violation
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker behind the controversial “Innocence of Muslims” movie that has sparked days of rioting across the Muslim world, has been arrested on suspicion of violating terms of his probation, federal authorities said.
He is expected to appear in federal court Thursday afternoon.
Nakoula was convicted on bank fraud charges in 2010 and warned against misbehaving on the Internet.
He was ordered not to own or use devices with access to the Web 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," according to the terms of his probation.
There were also restrictions placed on him in enlisting others to get on the Internet for him. Some speculated that Nakoula may have violated those terms after the film trailer was loaded onto YouTube, although it is unclear what exactly prompted the recent arrest.
Nakoula had been arrested in 2009 after federal agents searched his home in Cerritos on suspicion that he had engaged in a scheme to create fake identities and open credit cards in those names, then draw tens of thousands of dollars from the phony accounts.
According to the court file, Nakoula operated under a dizzying array of aliases, including Kritbag Difrat. In June 2010, he was convicted on four counts, including bank fraud and identity theft, and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. He was also ordered to pay $794,700.57 in restitution.
He was released, according to federal records, in June 2011.
Authorities interviewed Nakoula earlier this month amid the furor over the film. Actors have identified him as the filmmaker.
-- Jessica Garrison and Victoria Kim
Photo: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is escorted to a voluntary interview with federal authorities on Sept. 15. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times