The Californian man behind the anti-IslamicÂ movie that has caused outrage across the Muslim world emerged from hiding thisÂ morning to be interviewed by federal probation officers.
With his face obscured behind a hat, glassesÂ and a scarf, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55 was taken to a sheriff’s station inÂ his hometown of Cerritos by deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’sÂ department.
Convicted fraudster Nakoula is underÂ investigation by probation officers to determine whether his inflammatory filmÂ ‘Innocence of Muslims’ has violated the terms of his release, which could landÂ him back in prison.
After arriving at his home just afterÂ midnight deputies escorted Nakoula to an awaiting car and he was taken to theÂ station where he was questioned over his involvement in the film productionÂ which has been blamed for the mass protests across the Middle East whichÂ resulted in the death of four American citizens on Wednesday.
Convicted of $800,000 worth of bank fraud inÂ 2010, Nakoula, who is suspected of using the alias Sam Bassil during theÂ production of the controversial film was released on the condition that he didÂ not access the internet or use aliases.
Violent protests around the Arab world haveÂ sprung up because of the film, which portrays the Prophet Mohammed as aÂ womaniser, buffon, ruthlesskiller and child molester and led to the death ofÂ seven people alone yesterday.
Nakoula voluntarily left his home in theÂ early hours of Saturday morning for the meeting in a sheriff’s station LosÂ Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
‘He will be interviewed by federal probationÂ officers,’ said Whitmore.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo was attack byÂ protesters yesterday and demonstrations against American consulates spread toÂ Yemen on Thursday and on Friday to several other countries across the MiddleÂ East.
Nakoula, whose name has been widely linked toÂ the film in media reports, pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 2010 and wasÂ sentenced to 21 months in prison, to be followed by five years on supervisedÂ probation, court documents showed.
He was accused of fraudulently opening bankÂ and credit card accounts using Social Security numbers that did not match theÂ names on the applications, a criminal complaint showed. He was released in JuneÂ 2011, and at least some production on the video was done later thatÂ summer.
But the terms of Nakoula’s prison releaseÂ contain behavior stipulations that bar him from accessing the Internet orÂ assuming aliases without the approval of his probation officer.
A senior law enforcement official inÂ Washington has indicated the probation investigation relates to whether he brokeÂ one or both of these conditions. Violations could result in him being sent backÂ to prison, court records show.
He said Nakoula had not been placed underÂ arrest but would not be returning home immediately. ‘He was never put inÂ handcuffs… It was all voluntary.’
Nakoula, who has denied involvement in theÂ film in a phone call to his Coptic Christian bishop, was ushered out of his homeÂ and into a waiting car by several sheriff’s deputies, his face shielded by aÂ scarf, hat and sunglasses.
The crudely made 13-minute English-languageÂ film, filmed in California and circulated on the Internet under several titlesÂ including ‘Innocence of Muslims’, mocks the Prophet Mohammad.
The film sparked a violent protest at theÂ U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi during which the U.S. ambassadorÂ and three other Americans were killed on Tuesday. Protests have spread to otherÂ countries across the Muslim world.
For many Muslims, any depiction of theÂ prophet is blasphemous. Caricatures deemed insulting in the past have provokedÂ protests and drawn condemnations from officials, preachers, ordinary Muslims andÂ many Christians.
U.S. officials have said authorities were notÂ investigating the film project itself, and that even if it was inflammatory orÂ led to violence, simply producing it cannot be considered a crime in the UnitedÂ States, which has strong free speech laws.
Two attorneys visited Nakoula’s home hoursÂ before he was taken in for questioning. They said they were there to consultÂ with him.
The violent protests over the film in LibyaÂ caused mob attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens andÂ three other American officials.