LOS ANGELES -- One of the men behind the anti-Muslim film trailer on YouTube that has set off violent protests at Western embassies across the Middle East was taken in for questioning by federal probation officers early Saturday, law enforcement officials said.
The man, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was questioned at the Los Angeles County sheriff's station in Cerritos, where he lives. He was not placed under arrest, the authorities said.
"He was never in handcuffs," said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County sheriff. "He was never arrested. This is all voluntary."
Federal court officials did not immediately respond to calls Saturday.
But earlier in the week, federal officials appeared to be investigating whether Nakoula had been the person who uploaded the video to YouTube. If so, he would have violated the terms of his sentencing in a conviction in a 2010 check-kiting case, which includes restrictions against his using the Internet without permission from a probation officer.
The incendiary, amateurish video -- a 14-minute trailer for a supposed full-length feature called "The Innocence of Muslims" -- depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a buffoon, a womanizer and a child molester. It was first uploaded to YouTube in June, and translated into Arabic and uploaded several more times in the week leading up to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks.
The video helped set off protests last week,
After days of unrest and anti-American protests across the Muslim world, there was a respite Saturday with a fragile calm returning to the region, but often under an intense show of force from the police or military.
Since the protests, Nakoula had remained holed up inside his house, while a news media encampment kept 24-hour watch outside his front door.
When he finally emerged with sheriff's deputies Saturday morning, Whitmore said, he wore a hat and jacket, and had wrapped a white shawl around his face.
After the interview, Whitmore said that sheriff's deputies dropped Nakoula off at his car, and that he was no longer at his house.
Nakoula, the former owner of a gas station near his home, apparently used a series of pseudonyms while making and discussing the film, even when dealing with some of the actors, who believed they were making a film called "Desert Warriors."