Los Angeles News

Anti-Islam film creator's attorney makes house call

Friday, September 14, 2012
A group of Muslims is seen gathering in Tustin to reflect on the violent events brought on around the world by the film, Innocence of Muslims, on Friday, September 14, 2012. An attorney for Nakoula Basselly Nakoula is seen being escorted into his clients home on Friday, September 14, 2012. President Barack Obama speaks at the White House on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012.

Attorneys slipped into the home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker behind "Innocence of Muslims," as he continued to hide from the public Friday.

An hour later, attorney Steve Seiden emerged from the home and pleaded with reporters outside to leave.

"You're keeping his young children prisoners in their own home because they're afraid to come out, so if you'd disperse and maybe let them get out to do what they need to do, we'd appreciate it," he said.

Media outlets have been camped outside of the home, hoping to get a glimpse of the 55-year-old Nakoula, or get a comment from him. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed that Nakoula is inside his home with his family. Law enforcement officials have been in touch with Nakoula.

Security is the priority in the neighborhood and in other Southland locations. Nakoula -- a self described Coptic Christian from Egypt -- was an occasional visitor at St. George Coptic Church in Bellflower. Local church leaders denounced his actions and his film.

"To resort to things like that, inflammatory film or a group of people that have some motives, God knows that they are, this is not the Christian way it is not the Coptic orthodox way either," said Father Jospeh Boules of St. Mary and St. Vernoica Coptic Church.

The anti-Muslim film was partially shot at Blue Cloud Ranch in Newhall. Actors lines were dubbed over - the dialogue slurring Islamic beliefs.

Nakoula and his partners worked out of the Media for Christ production house, which was locked up Friday.

A sheriff's car was parked at his Coptic church, but church leaders say they are not fearful.

"I don't anticipate any problems or any lash back here in the Southland simply because of the relationship we enjoy with our brothers and sisters, the Muslims. We're very cordial, we're very peaceful with one another," said Boules.

The sheriff's department says there are multiple layers of security on a regular basis throughout the area. Local and federal agencies monitoring chatter and have found none.

"Let's be clear: No threats, no danger. Right now ,it is just the media presence and the causal with what's going on with this ostensibly -- video -- and what's going on overseas," said Steve Whtimore with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Thursday, federal authorities identified Nakoula as the key figure behind the anti-Islam film titled "Innocence of Muslims." ABC News reports that Nakoula is the writer, director and the financier of the movie, which he wrote while serving time in a federal prison for bank fraud.

Nakoula's low-budget movie has triggered outrage for its portrayal of the prophet Muhammad in a negative light. There have been violent protests in Egypt, Libya and Yemen after a short clip of the movie was posted on YouTube. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Libya during the Wednesday attack. Their bodies returned to American soil on Friday, and a solemn ceremony was held in their honor at Andrews Air Force Base.

Sheriff's deputies have been patrolling the area since a 911 call was made about 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday, reporting a disturbance at Nakoula's home. The sheriff's department will not comment on that disturbance or reveal who made the call.

Records obtained by ABC News show Nakoula was convicted of making methamphetamines in the 1990s and was later convicted on bank fraud charges.

Meantime, the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California and Hawaii released a statement Thursday, saying they strongly condemn the events in Libya and the controversial film.

"The producers of this movie should be responsible for their actions. The name of our blessed parishioners should not be associated with the efforts of individuals who have ulterior motives," the statement read.

Nakoula has said that the film was shot in just over 12 days and reportedly cost between $50,000 and $60,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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