Nakoula May have Violated Probation by Making Movie
Nakoula, an Anti-Islam filmmaker, spoke to probation officers last night.
Sept. 15, 2012— -- Federal probation officers interviewed Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a California filmmaker responsible for creating an anti-Islam film that sparked protests in more than 30 countries, late last night and released him.
Nakoula was questioned for about 90 minutes, and then was taken to an undisclosed location, where he was released, officials said.
"He is gone. We don't know where he went," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said. "He said he is not going back to his home."
The man, who served 21 months in prison on fraud and identity theft charges, could face more prison time if it is determined his involvement in the film was a violation of his probation, which barred him from either owning or using devices with access to the Web without prior approval from his probation officer.
Nakoula left his Cerritos home with his head wrapped in a towel and wearing a hat, apparently trying to hide his appearance. But he was not under arrest and went to the police station willingly during the overnight shift, Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Kim Manatt told ABCNews.com.
The Sherriff's Department provided transportation, but was not involved in questioning Nakoula, Manatt said.
The movie, "The Innocence of Muslims," the prophet Mohammed, portraying him as a buffoon, womanizer and child-molester.
Nakoula is the identity of Sam Bacile, an alias he used to claim credit for writing and directing the film, the ABC News Investigative Unit reported this week.
Nakoula denied this and said he worked on logistics for the film, but an anonymous official told The Associated Press that the two are one and the same.
Nakoula was charged with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in 2009. According to the criminal complaint, his other aliases included Mark Basseley Youssef, Thomas Tanas, Ahmad Hamdy, Erwin Salameh, and Nicola Bacily. He had credit cards, social security cards, passports, leases and driver's licenses to match.
As a result of the felony proceedings, Nakoula was sentenced to 21 months in prison, ordered to pay $794,700.57 and was placed under supervised release for five years following his release. Bureau of Prison records indicate that he was released in June 2011.
Before "Sam Bacile" was identified as Nakoula, he told the AP, in an interview in which he used the pseudonym: "Islam is a cancer, period."
ABCNews.com reported on the mismatching claims surrounding "Bacile" earlier this week. Although he claimed to be a Jewish Israeli, other reports called him an Arab Christian U.S. citizen.
There is no record for a "Sam Bacile" in ABC's research databases.
As "Bacile," he also told reporters from different publications that he was different ages. He told the AP he was 56 and the Wall Street Journal that he was 52. His YouTube profile lists him as 75.
Nakoula said he is "scared to death" for his family, though most threats have been directed at him, the ABC News Investigative Unit reported.
Protesters in foreign nations have blamed the United States for the film, prompting hundreds of them to storm U.S. embassies around the world. They've also to set fire to American flags as well as a Christian School in Niger and a KFC in Lebanon, which are considered symbols of the United States.
Two are dead in Tunisia as a result of the protests. Although Egyptian police report that they've restored calm after clashing with protesters, at least six people were killed earlier in the week, according to the AP.
President Obama spoke at a ceremony this week to pay tribute to four Americans who were killed Tuesday when militants stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The dead there include U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.