WASHINGTON - Family members of the maker an anti-Islam video that triggered violent protests across the Muslim world went into hiding, according to a police spokesman.
Whitmore said he did not know where Nakoula and his family were headed but they were not expected to return to the home in Cerritos, which has been besieged by the media for nearly a week.
Nakoula, 55, admitted his role in the film last week and sought help from law enforcement in dealing with death threats he had received since the film’s release, saying he was “scared to death” about the safety of himself and his family, authorities told ABC News. Nakoula had originally used the pseudonym Sam Bacile, telling reporters he was an “Israeli Jew” and that the film had cost about $5,000,000, which came from wealthy Jewish friends.
But Nakoula, who is actually an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian, later told authorities that he and his son, Abanob Basseley, 21, were responsible for producing the movie. He reportedly said the film cost between $50,000 and $60,000 and was shot in a little over 12 days. Authorities say he claimed the money for the movie came from his wife’s family in Egypt.
Records obtained by ABC News show Nakoula was convicted of intent to manufacture methamphetamine in the 1990s, and also served time in federal prison on bank fraud charges, where he told authorities he wrote the script.
Sentenced to 21 months in prison and five years on probation, Nakoula was moved from the federal correctional complex in Lompoc, California to a halfway house in 2010, according to the website The Smoking Gun. He was released from federal custody in June 2011 and production on the film began just two months later at a soundstage in Southern California.