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Filmmaker behind anti-Islam movie released, avoids besieged home

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:18 p.m. HST, Sep 15, 2012

LOS ANGELES » A Southern California filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie inflaming protests across the Middle East was interviewed and released today 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.

Nakoula went voluntarily to the station, wearing a coat, hat, scarf and glasses that concealed his appearance. His home has been besieged by media for several days.

Whitmore said Nakoula was not handcuffed and the heavy apparel was his idea.

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.

The Riverside County man who was a script advisor to the film and who has a long history of anti-Islamic activism told the Press-Enterprise newspaper that he has received multiple death threats.

"I'm really tired," Steven Klein said when he answered the door of his home in Hemet, Calif., Friday with a pistol in his hand and clad only in a pair of white shorts stained with what appeared to be ink spots.

The newspaper said Klein, a Vietnam veteran, appeared agitated. While waving the gun, he told the newspaper he was standing up for his First Amendment rights in helping with the film and said he is prepared to die for those rights.

A federal law enforcement official said authorities had connected Nakoula to a man using the pseudonym of Sam Bacile who claimed earlier to be writer and director of the film.

Violent protests set off by the film in Libya played a role in mob attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American officials. Demonstrations against American missions have since spread to several other countries.

Associated Press writers Bob Seavey in Phoenix and Pete Yost, Stephen Braun and Ted Bridis in Washington contributed to this report.

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Pookie_Baby wrote:
Go get um Uncle Sam!
on September 15,2012 | 11:58AM
stogie002 wrote:
This idiot deserves to be handed over to the Muslim community for doing what he did. People know what happens when you disrespect anything of the Muslim religion and yet he did it anyway. He managed to get 4 innocent peopled killed and now there are hundreds of innocents in danger because this dummy didn't think about consequences of doing something hateful/disrespectful
on September 15,2012 | 12:10PM
8082062424 wrote:
stop making excuses for them. Just about every religion is put down or made fun off. from Jesus to buda and they do not go and act like these folks did. how about every time they burn a flag or say kill Americans. The guys who made this movie may have been twisted. but how many movie were made insulting other faiths. .maybe the movie not so fake since they behave has it says they do. why so we bow down to any faith or country. since when do they have the power to tell us what we can and can not do. Our preserdent bowed down so much they think they own us now
on September 16,2012 | 01:18PM
mitt_grund wrote:
They have not been able to find out the source of his funding. With all these superPACs involved in the current election, who is to say that one of them may not have financed the anti-Islamic video trailer that is causing so much grief, to influence the elections. They are not exactly open to public scrutiny or control, and are borderline on morals and ethics.
on September 16,2012 | 02:12PM
Pocho wrote:
Steven Klein you da Man! Stand up for your American rights and don't bow to these Muslim/Islam fanatics. Hope you got some bullet proof body armor.
on September 15,2012 | 01:04PM
Grimbold wrote:
We need more such anti-islam movies. They will lure the innumerable violent Muslims out of their holes and they can be identified. And the ignorant american public can see what a bad idea it is to allow Muslims into the USA.
on September 15,2012 | 02:10PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
This is a much more complicated issue than Pocho, on one extreme and Pookie Baby on the other extreme, express. For example, the 1st Amendment , and its extension to other jurisdictions via the due process clause in the 14th Amendment, only restricts Federal, State and County governments from interfering on free speech. This restriction is not absolute. Also, certain types of speech are not protected by the 1st Amendment. For example, "Chaplinsky fighting words" are not protected. Thus, if you use swear words to someone and challenge them to fight, you commit the crime of Harassment in Hawaii, even though the defendant only used words and not fists, and did not threaten to hit the other person, but rather only challenged the other person to a fight which the other could have freely walked away from. Was this movie which by severely insulting some one else's religion the equivalent to swearing at that person? Maybe or maybe not. Was Google legally entitled to censor the movie from U Tube since Google is not the government and thus not subject to 1st Amendment restrictions? Most certainly.
on September 15,2012 | 01:34PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Without a cultural understanding of the level of offense that triggers a reaction how could such a legal decision be made? TV shows, like SNL Mahre, and late night hosts regularly joke at the expense of presidents, yet to date we haven't seen Clinton or others threatening the writers. Religion certainly isn't exempt from considerable mocking as well. Perhaps the makers of this film would have their heads lopped off in the middle east, but they're here, where they are free to make a bad movie if they so chose.
on September 15,2012 | 03:03PM
CloudForest wrote:
Dear Educated Local Boy; So every time the muslims dance, shout, intimidate, threaten and rage in the streets - using your own example (Chaplinsky fighting words) - they are "not protected" and could easily be prosecuted for violating me?! See how that goes over as they slowly and methodically implement sharia by force. And make no mistake about it, that is exactly what they are doing and way too many people like yourself argue the "finer" points and never see the end game that is being thrust upon them and how wicked it is. Also, few people never realize how wise our founding fathers were in having our sacred rights start with the 1st Amendment and it's just as righteous "brother" the 2nd Amendment.
on September 16,2012 | 07:27AM
Graham wrote:
Questions: Why was it necessary for the FBI to release his identity??? Why after several weeks of the video/film being shown on youtube did the sh-t hit the fan of 9/11? Why, even after some warnings of mass protests, no additional security for our embassies? Inquisitive mind, mine, wants to know.
on September 15,2012 | 03:29PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
It's hard to tell whether one should laugh or cry when one sees that the Obama administration is more concerned with persecuting this poor geek of a "filmmaker" than they were about insisting that embassy security personnel be armed. Pathetic.
on September 15,2012 | 03:47PM
mitt_grund wrote:
I thought it was the local police who were checking if he had broken probation.
on September 16,2012 | 02:13PM
kainalu wrote:
Apparently, the white robe and pointed hood have been traded in for a white towel, sunglasses, and a derby. The film proves one thing that those that would preach already know - the sheep are easily shepherded.
on September 15,2012 | 08:03PM
Ronin006 wrote:
It is reprehensible that the US government has launched an investigation about the individual who produced the film that supposedly is so offensive to Muslims. It clearly is an attempt by the Obama Administration to put the blame an obscure wannna-be movie producer for the turmoil erupting in Muslim countries than on Obama’s failed foreign policies. It also is an attack our constitutionally given rights of free speech. We cannot let that happen.
on September 15,2012 | 09:09PM
Ronin006 wrote:
The prophet Muhammad should be placed at the bottom of an outhouse so that we can show him, by our daily devotion, what we think about him.
on September 15,2012 | 09:12PM
CloudForest wrote:
First they came for the jews, then the film makers, then the gays, then the artist, then the infidels, then the ___________ (fill in the blank) and then their was no one to help us.
on September 16,2012 | 06:59AM
whoispang wrote:
im going to start making my own anti muslim movie.
on September 16,2012 | 08:27AM
Anonymous wrote:
This guy needs to be held accountable for the deaths of U.S. Citizens murdered overseas.....SOMEBODY SHOOT THIS GUY !!!
on September 16,2012 | 09:35AM
CloudForest wrote:
Our fathers did not walk across Omaha Beach for anyone to cave into these wicked, nasty, sharia loving, control freak burners of our embassy and murders of our fellow man to be allowed to intimidate us into bowing and kneeling before them. Put your sights on the right people - and it's not the person who told the truth about islam in a B movie!! Are you even an American?
on September 16,2012 | 11:01AM
Macadamiamac wrote:
Freedom of speech is a wonderful right guaranteed to us as citizens of this great country. But implied in that right is a duty of responsibility. You can say what you want, when and where you want. With the internet, soapboxes are cheap. But the price of responsibility isn't cheap. Just as it is irresponsible if not criminal to shout 'Fire" in a crowded theater or other venue, the posting of the inflammatory anti-Muslim video apparently without thought of its consequences has cost American lives and fanned the hatred of America and Americans – yes, innocent you and innocent me, in some parts of the world where little value is placed on education, individual rights and tolerance for differences of opinion. So Steven Klein and N.B. Nakoula must now sleep with one eye open and wear their kevlar underwear 24/7, until the fatwa is cancelled or the reaper pays them a call. Good luck.
on September 16,2012 | 09:49AM
CloudForest wrote:
The islam fanatics need Christ, it is their only hope.
on September 16,2012 | 11:03AM
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