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Entries in Sam Bacile (2)

Friday
Sep142012

Anti-Islam Film Producer Wrote Script in Prison: Authorities

JACK GUEZ/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- The controversial Innocence of Muslims was written, produced and directed by a convicted drug manufacturer and scam artist, who has told authorities he actually wrote the script in federal prison and began production two months after his June 2011 release from custody.

Authorities say Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, of Cerritos, Calif., admitted his role in the film, after seeking help from law enforcement in dealing with death threats he has received since the release of the film. Excerpts from the film led to outrage and violence in the Arab world.

Authorities told ABC News that Nakoula told them he and his son, Abanob Basseley, 21, were responsible for producing the movie which, he reportedly said, 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.

Using the false name Sam Basile, Nakoula had told reporters earlier this week that he was an "Israeli Jew," that the film had cost about $5,000,000, and that the money had come from wealthy Jewish friends.

Now he is "scared to death," authorities told ABC News, and fearful that harm could come to his wife and other family members. But most of the threats have been directed at him, authorities said.

According to California law enforcement officials the other members of the team that produced the movie are also fearful that harm could come to them. Authorities were seeking to talk to each of them.

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, Calif. 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.

Actors in the film say that they were told the film was called "Desert Warrior," and say that the script contained no references to Mohammed. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia told ABC News, "I never heard Mohammed, I never said Mohammed." Specific references to Mohammed and Islam were apparently added via overdubbing.

"I just want the world to know that I did not know," said Garcia.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep132012

Who Is Sam Bacile? Anti-Islam Filmmaker's Bio Doesn't Add Up

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The filmmaker who produced an incendiary, anti-Muslim movie that stirred extremists on Tuesday to storm the U.S. embassy in Egypt -- and may be linked to the fatal attack on the U.S. ambassador in Libya -- may have gone into hiding, as doubts rose as to his true identity.

Following Tuesday's riots, a California man calling himself Sam Bacile took credit for making the film Innocence of the Muslims and identified himself as an Israeli Jew in two news interviews.

But a search of public records and inconsistencies in Bacile's own accounts, as well as information from a radical Christian who helped produced the movie all suggest that "Sam Bacile" is a pseudonym and is not Israeli but an Arab Christian.

"I've met him twice.  He is not a citizen of Israel.  He is in hiding," Steve Klein, a member of a far-right anti-Islamic Christian group who says he helped with the film's production, told ABC News.

Klein said Bacile was not Israeli or Jewish, and suggested he was an Arab Christian who was a U.S. citizen.

Three U.S. Christian groups, including two identified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Council, and a third that advocates for Egyptian Christians, or Copts, have been linked to the production or eventual distribution of the movie.

The controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who in 2010 sparked riots in Afghanistan after burning copies of the Koran, told ABC News that he had been contacted to help distribute the film.

Klein, a member of the Church of Kaweah, listed as an anti-Muslim hate group, said Bacile and the film's other backers were "refugees from the Middle East."

"The folks that I'm working with have come from a culture where they've been tracked down, driven from their homes.  Close family members have been kidnapped, raped and murdered," said Klein of the filmmaker.

Christians in much of the Middle East are persecuted and their plight has been made a cause for many American fundamentalist Christians.

Clips of the low-budget movie, which portrays the prophet Mohammed as a fraud, pedophile and homosexual, appeared on the YouTube page of a person identified as "Sam Bacile," who also left a later YouTube comment in colloquial Egyptian Arabic.

Searches of federal and state public records including civil and criminal court documents and real estate filings revealed no mention of anyone with Bacile's name. 

There is no record of a Sam Bacile, or a similarly named person, having received a real estate license in California.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio