Editor's Note: Click on the video to the right to watch the Patch footage of Nakoula being escorted from his home by sheriff's deputies. Click here for a complete photo gallery of the exit from his home.
After a three-day long media stakeout outside the home of a Cerritos man linked to the making of the anti-Islam movie that has ignited a firestorm of outrage and violence abroad, Cerritos Sheriff's Station deputies on Saturday escorted the filmmaker, whose face was cloaked in secrecy, out of his residence shortly after midnight.
The late night exit began when four Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department vehicles, including an unmarked car, carrying members of the Cerritos Station's Special Assignment Operations (SAO) team rolled up to the scene of the media blitzed cul-de-sac and quickly made their way toward a gate on the left side of the two-story home.
After about five minutes, the gate re-opened and deputies escorted 55-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula toward the unmarked sheriff's vehicle.
The Man In Hiding: What Does Nakoula Look Like?
The embattled filmmaker, a Coptic Christian, was wearing a long gray wool coat, a khaki-toned tweed derby hat and a white towel wrapped around most of his face, allowing only his dark-rimmed eyeglasses to peek through.
Once the Cerritos resident was inside the sheriff's vehicle, they sped off and made their way to the Cerritos Sheriff's Station (located about a mile away), where Nakoula was interviewed by federal probation officers, Whitmore said.
Authorities said Nakoula had left the area on his own and would not be returning to his Cerritos home.
The spokesman further emphasized that Nakoula was "never handcuffed, he was never arrested, never detained, never in custody -- it was all voluntary," adding that he chose to cover his face, "that's what he wanted and he had every right to do it."
His family remains inside their Cerritos residence, Whitmore added. The family, which neighbors say have lived their for about 10 years, consists of his wife, his college-aged son and daughter and a son who is in middle school.
A Look at Nakoula's Checkered Past
Nakoula was accused of opening bank and credit card accounts using phony Social Security numbers in 2010. He pleaded no contest to the bank fraud charges in Los Angeles federal court, papers show.
He was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Christine A. Snyder to 21 months in federal prison and ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without prior authorization. He was also ordered to pay about $790,000 in restitution.
On Friday, Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the administrative office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C., said the federal probation department in Los Angeles is "reviewing" Nakoula's activities to determine if he violated the terms of his probation. If so, he could be sent back to prison.
The Film Fueling the Recent Violence in the Middle East
On Wednesday, Nakoula was identified as one of the makers of the 14-minute YouTube film "Innocence of Muslims," which portrays the Muslim Prophet Muhammad engaged in apparently crude behavior. Such depictions of the prophet are considered blasphemous by many Muslims.
He told The Associated Press he was a manager of the company that produced the film, but denied being the director, who was previously identified as Sam Bacile. Federal officials, however, believe Nakoula was the man responsible for the controversial video.
Protests apparently ignited by the low-budget film played a role in mob violence in Libya in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
- City News Service contributed to a portion of this report.