Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who made the trailer for the film “Innocence of Muslims” that sparked violent outbreaks in some Muslim countries, is being held without bond after being arrested for violating the terms of his supervised release.
Nakoula appeared at a hearing yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal in Los Angeles. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles, said Nakoula was arrested yesterday in Los Angeles and detained after the hearing.
The 14-minute trailer shows a fictional attack by Muslims on a Christian family, followed by an account of the origins of Islam depicting the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer. Google Inc. (GOOG)’s YouTube blocked access to the clip in Egypt and Libya following attacks on the U.S. missions in those countries. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three embassy employees were killed Sept. 11.
Jack Whitaker, a lawyer for Nakoula, declined to comment on yesterday’s arrest.
Nakoula, 55, has a criminal history that includes bank fraud by using false identities and a drug conviction. He was questioned this month by U.S. authorities investigating whether he violated terms of his parole.
Under the terms of his release, Nakoula was prohibited from representing himself with anything other than his true legal name, and is barred from using the Internet without permission from his probation officer.
Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress in the movie trailer, sued Nakoula, claiming he used the name Sam Bacile and misled her about the content of the film to get her participation.
The Associated Press traced a mobile-phone number it had for Bacile to Nakoula, a Coptic Christian living in suburban Los Angeles. In an interview, Nakoula told the news agency he managed logistics for the company that made the movie. He said he wasn’t the director, according to AP.
Tim Dax, another actor in the film, told the Los Angeles Times that he was paid $75 a day in checks drawn from a bank account of Abanob Basseley Nakoula, a name linked to Nakoula’s address in public records. Dax, reached through his Facebook profile, earlier declined to comment further.
Nakoula was sentenced to one year in jail in 1997 for intent to manufacture methamphetamine, according to Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley. He was given another year for violating probation in 2002.
Nakoula pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $794,700 in restitution, according to the June 24, 2010, sentencing document by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder in Los Angeles.
The case is USA v. Nakoula, 09-cr-00617, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).
To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at email@example.com