As outrage over the anti-Muslim film "Innocence of Muslims" spreads across the Middle East, police were sent to the California home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the film's producer, who according to authorities is frightened for his life.
Sheriff's deputies were sent to the Cerritos, California home of Nakoula, 55, Thursday to protect him and his family, a senior law enforcement official told ABC News. According to a sheriff, the police were at Nakoula's home overnight Thursday but have now left, as media reports identifying him as the man behind "Innocence of Muslims," and listing his address, have circulated.
According to California law enforcement officials, Nakoula, who is also known to authorities as Bacily Nakoula, was frightened for his life and "scared of retaliation" against his family.
Sheriffs from the Cerritos police station were sent to his home to keep Nakoula safe and to provide a uniformed presence to assist the members from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, official reports said.
Nakoula told the Associated Press in an interview outside Los Angeles that he was manager for the company that produced "Innocence of Muslims." He denied he directed the film and said he knew the self-described filmmaker, identified only as "Sam Bacile."
But the cell phone number that the AP contacted Tuesday to reach the filmmaker who identified himself as "Bacile" traced to the same Southern California address where the AP found Nakoula.
A senior official said that they also had sent local law enforcement officers to the production company "Media for Christ" in Duarte, California to keep watch on the facility, which authorities said was affiliated with making the film that has been a trigger for anti-U.S. violence and protest in several countries.
Nakoula pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California and was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution and serve 21 months in prison.
Outrage over the "Innocence of Muslims" film has spread across the Middle East as protesters have rushed the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen, while further demonstrations broke out outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
On Tuesday, protesters in Cairo, Egypt, scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down the American flag in an angry demonstration against the film that depicts the founder of Islam as a fraud and a womanizer.