Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the producer behind the incendiary if not silly Innocence of Muslims anti-Islam film has been arrested, a federal official said today.
The Cerritos man was headed to federal court downtown this afternoon, said U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Thom Mrozek in an email blast to the media.
It's not clear exactly why he was arrested, but …
… he was on federal probation for a 2010 bank fraud conviction, and part of this probation had him staying away from the internet.
There was some conjecture that the man who posted the trailer for Innocence on YouTube, Sam Bacile, was none other than Nakoula himself.
The producer is a Coptic Christian whose film portrays the Prophet Mohammed as a child molester and woman beater.
The trailer, translated to Arabic this summer, has set off a wave of anti-American violence in the Middle East and was said to have sparked, at least in part, a fatal attack on the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans earlier this month.
[Added at 2:28 p.m.]: On the night of Sept. 14 federal authorities asked to have a word with Nakoula as part of his probation, and he submitted to a sit-down with them.
The producer was escorted from his home by sheriff's deputies that evening and had not been seen since. (He engaged in a short interview with authorities but apparently didn't want to return to a home surrounded by TV news trucks).
The film, by the way, was made in L.A. County. It featured at least one porn star, used a soft-porn director, and was the subject today of a federal court battle involving an actress who said she was duped into appearing in an anti-Muslim propaganda film.
[Update at 11:08 p.m.]: In court today, according to our City News Service feed …
… Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale said Nakoula, 55, was facing eight allegations of violating his probation, including making false statements to probation officers and using at least three different names.
Saying he's a flight risk, U.S. Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal ordered Nakoula held without bail for at least the next few weeks — until a probation-revocation hearing, according to CNS and broadcast reports.
Dugdale said Nakoula's use of aliases was “part of a lengthy pattern of deception.”
KPCC (89.3 FM) and other outlets reported that the man's real name is … Mark Youseff.