LOS ANGELES — A Southern California filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie inflaming protests across the Middle East was interviewed Saturday by federal probation officers at a Los Angeles sheriff’s station, authorities said.
Nakoula B. Nakoula, 55, was interviewed for about half an hour at the station 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.
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.
Steven Klein, a Riverside County man who was a script adviser 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.
Klein answered the door of his home Friday with a pistol in his hand.