Anti-Muslim film director’s real name a mystery, but more details emerge

A screenshot from a trailer for controversial anti-Islam film,
A screenshot from a trailer for controversial anti-Islam film, "Innocence of Muslims."
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U.S. law enforcement officials tell the Associated Press that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is the filmmaker of an anti-Muslim movie blamed for sparking violence in Egypt and Libya.

Fifty-five-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian based in Southern California, says he helped with logistics for the filming of "Innocence of Muslims," which mocked Muslims and the prophet Muhammad. But Nakoula had denied he directed the film and said he knows the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile. Efforts by KPCC and other news organizations to find Bacile led to Nakoula, and U.S. law enforcement officials tell AP that Nakoula is the filmmaker.

Nakoula pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California and was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was also sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.

On Wednesday, the actors in the film issued a joint statement saying they were misled about the project and that some of their dialogue was crudely dubbed during post-production.

Hollywood and California film industry groups and permit agencies say they had no records of the project under the name "Innocence of Muslims" — but a Los Angeles film permit agency later found a record of a movie filmed in L.A. last year under the working title "Desert Warriors."