TEEN actor who portrays A.J. Soprano arrested on robbery, marijuana charges - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

TEEN actor who portrays A.J. Soprano arrested on robbery, marijuana charges

Updated:

NEW YORK (AP) _ The 16-year-old ``Sopranos'' actor who faces real-life criminal charges was unaware of what his friends were doing when two teens were allegedly robbed of $40, his lawyer says.

Robert Iler, who plays the troubled son of mobster Tony Soprano on the hit HBO series ``The Sopranos,'' and three other youths were arrested early Wednesday. Iler was charged with two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of marijuana possession.

The four were picked up by police for allegedly robbing two teens on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Iler had a bag of marijuana and a water pipe in his pocket when he was arrested, police said.

Police said the oldest of the four, Michael Cournede, 19, approached the victims and ordered them to hand over their money. The other suspects allegedly threatened the victims if they did not comply.

Iler's lawyer, Steven Mintz, disputed the allegations.

``My client didn't threaten anybody, my client didn't hear anybody threaten anybody, my client didn't hear anyone ask for money,'' Mintz said. ``Robert didn't hear anybody or see anybody receive money. And he only learned what had happened much later when he was picked up.''

He posted $2,500 bail and was released.

Over the three-year run of ``The Sopranos,'' Iler's character, Anthony ``A.J.'' Soprano Jr., has repeatedly found trouble: smoking pot in the family garage, vandalizing his high school, and cheating on a test.

Iler's mother, Helen, told reporters it was the first time her son had been in real-life trouble _ ``and it will be the last.''

The three other teens also had no criminal record, police said. Cournede and Alban Selimaj, 16, pleaded innocent to two counts of second-degree robbery. The fourth suspect, a 15-year-old boy, will face charges in Family Court because of his age.

``What we have here is three kids who thought it would be fun to go out and do a robbery,'' Robert Wallach, an assistant district attorney, said at the arraignment.

Iler began his acting career at age 6, when Jeff Mitchell, who became his manager, spotted him walking down a Manhattan street with his father. He was hired to appear in a Pizza Hut commercial. He made his first film _ ``The Tic Code'' _ when he was 10.

HBO did not return calls for comment.
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