General News

"Sopranos" actor pleads innocent

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Aug 30, 2001 | 11:33am EDT

Actor Robert Iler, who plays A.J. Soprano on HBO's hit mob dramaThe Sopranos, pleaded innocent to second-degree robbery charges Wednesday in Manhattan Criminal Court, The Associated Press reports.

Iler and two friends were arrested on July 3 after two teen-age tourists were robbed of $40 on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Police picked up Iler, Michael Cournede and Alban Selimaf shortly after the victims pointed out the three, who were sitting on a park bench not far from where the incident took place, to officers.

According to the prosecutors, Iler and his friends told the robbery victims, "Give us your money. Do you want to die?"

Court papers also allege that Iler used profanity to address an officer at the 19th precinct and said, "Don't you worry about me. I'm a millionaire."

Iler was also charged with marijuana possession and Cournede was additionally charged with carrying a box cutter. The three have pleaded not guilty to all charges and are currently free on bail.

Robert Morvillo, Iler's defense attorney, said that his client did not see the incident or hear any demands for money. According to the papers, Iler told a detective he had been watching fireworks and getting high before the alleged robbery. He said that he was crossing the street with a girl when Cournede confronted the two victims.

In his own statement, Cournede said he and another unnamed teen approached the two victims and said, "Don't move, give us your money." He also denied touching the youths.

Judge Laura Visitacion-Lewis lifted a 10 p.m. curfew that had been in place so that Iler could return to work in California.

In an earlier statement, Iler said he was embarrassed by the arrest and was sorry for what he was putting his family and friends through.

A pretrial court date has been set for Oct. 5.

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