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Thursday, 5 July, 2001, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Sopranos actor 'unaware' of robbery
Robert Iler being escorted from the police station following his arrest
Robert Iler is escorted from the police station
The lawyer of teenage actor Robert Iler has said that his client was unaware of what his friends were doing when two teenagers were allegedly mugged for $40 (£28).

Iler plays the son of Tony Soprano in the popular HBO television series The Sopranos.


My client didn't threaten anybody, my client didn't hear anybody threaten anybody, my client didn't hear anyone ask for money.

Steven Mintz, Robert Iler's lawyer
The 16-year-old was picked up by police on Wednesday with three other teenagers, Michael Cournede, 19, Alban Selimaj, 16, and a 15-year-old boy who remains unnamed.

New York police said that Cournede, the eldest of the four, approached the victims and ordered them to hand over their money.

The other three suspects allegedly threatened the victims, forcing them to comply with Cournede's request.

'Not guilty'

The four teenagers have attended a preliminary hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Iler, charged with two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of possession of marijuana, pleaded not guilty, and was released on bail of $2,500 (£1,782).

Michael Cournede and Alban Selimaj also pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree robbery.

The fourth 15 year old suspect will face charges in family court owing to his status as a minor.


What we have here is three kids who thought it would be fun to go out and do a robbery.

Assistant district attorney Robert Wallach
Iler's next court appearance is on 9 July.

Steven Mintz, Iler's lawyer, has refuted 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."

He added: "Robert didn't hear anybody or see anybody receive money. And he only learned what had happened much later when he was picked up."

First and last

Iler's mother, Helen, speaking to reporters, stated that this incident was the first time her son had gotten into trouble, and "it will be the last."

Speaking after the preliminary hearing, assistant district attorney Robert Wallach said: "What we have here is three kids who thought it would be fun to go out and do a robbery."

Iler has a regular role in HBO drama series The Sopranos, which has been fêted by many American critics as one of the most original and creative shows on television.

Robert Iler leaves Manhattan Criminal Court
Robert Iler leaves Manhattan Criminal Court
His character Anthony "AJ" Soprano Jr., named after his father (played by James Gandolfini) is always getting into scrapes on the show.

In the last three series, he has smoked marijuana, vandalised his school, and cheated in an exam.

HBO, producers of the critically acclaimed show, were unavailable for comment.

See also:

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03 Nov 00 | Entertainment
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05 Jul 01 | Showbiz
Sopranos actor arrested
24 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Crowds mob Sopranos auditions
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