Federal Probation Officers Interview Man At Center Of Anti-Islamic Movie
CERRITOS (CBSLA.com) — A Southern California filmmaker allegedly linked to a controversial Anti-Islamic film made a brief appearance overnight after being holed up inside his Cerritos home for more than three days.
Video from the scene showed the man – known to some as Nakoula Nakoula – donning a hat and towel in an attempt to conceal his face while being escorted by sheriff’s deputies.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s Spokesman Steve Whitmore told reporters on scene that Nakoula was not under arrest.
“The LA County Sheriff’s Department tonight about midnight assisted federal probation officers in a voluntary interview. Nobody is arrested. Nobody is detained. Nobody is in custody,” Whitmore said.
Carter Evans, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, said Nakoula was taken to the Sheriff’s Department shortly after midnight Saturday for questioning about a possible violation of the terms of his probation after he served time for bank fraud in a federal prison.
On Friday, Nakoula received a visit from Steve Seiden, a criminal defense attorney.
Seiden told Evans he was hired specifically to represent Nakoula in regard to his supervised release.
Court records show the terms of his release.
They state in part that the defendant, “shall not possess or use a device with access to any online service at any location without the prior approval of the Probation Officer.” Additionally, “all computers… and peripheral equipment used by defendant shall be subject to search and seizure…”
Sources for CBS2/KCAL9 say the probation department is looking into the possibility that Nakoula may have violated the terms of his release while allegedly making the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” and publicizing it.
Evans reports that Nakoula was interviewed for about an hour and federal probation officers say he fully cooperated. He is not expected to return to his Cerritos home.
Nakoula was questioned for about 30 minutes and released.
Reporting from outside Nakoula’s house Saturday afternoon, CBS2’s Joy Benedict said the home was still eerily quiet.
She spoke with DeeDee Robinson who doesn’t understand why her neighbor would have made an inflammatory anti-Muslim movie. “I don’t think it showed a lot of respect for someone whos supposed to be a prophet that alot of people honor so I can see why people are upset about that.”
Robinson said Nokoula, given his 1st amendment rights, has the right to his opinion but she found the idea of the film irresponsible, especially given all the tensions in the world. “You have freedom of speech but you can’t stand up in a place thats crowded and yell ‘Fire.’ Basically this video yelled fire on the Internet.”