The search for those behind the provocative, anti-Muslim film implicated in violent protests in Egypt and Libya led to a California Coptic Christian convicted of financial crimes, who acknowledged his role in managing and providing logistics for the production.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, told AP that he helped with logistics for the filming of "Innocence of Muslims," which mocked Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad and may have caused inflamed mobs that attacked US missions in Egypt and Libya.
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He provided the first details about a shadowy production group behind the film.
Nakoula denied he directed the film and said he knew the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile.
Who is Sam Bacile?
Nakoula said that he was a Coptic Christian and said the film's director supported the concerns of Christian Copts about their treatment by Muslims.
Nakoula denied he had posed as Bacile, but records checks by the AP subsequently found it and other connections to the Bacile persona.
The YouTube account, "Sam Bacile," which was used to publish excerpts of the provocative movie in July, was used to post comments online as recently as Tuesday, including this defense of the film written in Arabic: "It is a 100% movie, you cows."
The AP located Bacile after obtaining his cell phone number from Morris Sadek, a conservative Coptic Christian in the US, ho had promoted the anti-Muslim film in recent days on his website.
Egypt's Christian Coptic population has long decried what they describe as a history of discrimination and occasional violence from the country's Arab majority.
Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, who burned Korans on the ninth anniversary of 9/11, said he spoke with the movie's director on the phone and prayed for him.
He said he has not met the filmmaker in person, but the man contacted him a few weeks ago about promoting the movie.
"I have not met him. Sam Bacile, that is not his real name," Jones said. "I just talked to him on the phone. He is definitely in hiding and does not reveal his identity. He was quite honestly fairly shook up concerning the events and what is happening. A lot of people are not supporting him."
The film was implicated in protests that resulted in the burning of the US consulate Tuesday in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. The attack left US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other embassy employees dead.
Actors 'extremely upset'
The actors in the film issued a joint statement Wednesday saying they were misled about the project and said some of their dialogue was crudely dubbed during post-production.
In the English language version of the trailer, direct references to Muhammad appear to be the result of post-production changes to the movie. Either actors aren't seen when the name "Muhammad" is spoken in the overdubbed sound, or they appear to be mouthing something else as the name of the prophet is spoken.
"The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer," said the statement, obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
"We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."