Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Egyptian living in California, is being IDed as one of the key figures behind Innocence of the Muslims. But, is he also Sam Bacile, the man who posted the film's trailer on YouTube in July?
The backstory to Innocence of the Muslims has the intrigue of a second-rate political thriller. There are mysterious Israelis and Egyptians, two-bit actors from southern California, and of course Pastor Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida. Everyone is wondering who financed the film, and why was it made?
Nakoula, 55, has used the pseudonyms Nicola Bacily and Robert Bacily, according to sources, so he's probably Sam Bacile. Or, perhaps, he's being framed by other people. Either way, the public will learn more about his background over the next few days, so some of these questions will be answered.
Innocence of the Muslims is presumably the reason Muslims are rioting in Libya, Egypt and Yemen. The low-budget film depicts Mohammed as a warmonger and a womanizer, and was being promoted by Terry Jones, a controversial preacher from Florida.
Jones said Wednesday that the filmmaker's true identity is even somewhat of a mystery to him.
"I have not met him. Sam Bacile, that is not his real name," Jones said. "He is definitely in hiding and does not reveal his identity."
Nakoula is presently serving probation for financial crimes.