The Egyptian American man thought to be behind an anti-Islam video clip that partly incited weeks of anti-American protests in the Muslim world was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles for violating the terms of his 2010 probation.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian Copt based in Los Angeles, was detained after having been found to have violated the terms of his probation following his 2009 indictment for federal bank fraud, Thom Mrozak, a spokesman for the US attorney’s office in Los Angeles, told journalists Thursday.
“I confirm his arrest and [that] he was ordered ‘detained’ – held without bond – at a hearing that ended a little while ago,” Mrozak told Al-Monitor by email Thursday.
Nakoula, 55, “was ordered held without bond during an appearance in United States District Court here Thursday evening,” the New York Times reported. “The news media was barred from the courtroom, but Mr. Mrozek said journalists would be able to view the appearance by videoconference from another court center.”
Federal court records show that Nakoula was sentenced to 21 months prison in 2010 for federal bank fraud. Nakoula was released in June 2011, a month before filming began for the low-budget production that was edited into the trailer for the “Innocence of Muslims” that sparked outrage in the Arab world after it was posted in Arabic to YouTube earlier this month.
“The bank fraud scheme included a twist that is probably pertinent to the current investigation: he committed the crime using a variety of aliases,” the Times report said.
(Photo: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was questioned about his probation terms in Los Angeles this month. Los Angeles Times.)