NEW YORK – The 16-year-old Sopranos actor charged with taking $40 in a robbery denied any involvement in the crime Thursday.
Robert Iler, who plays the troubled son of mobster Tony Soprano on the hit HBO series, and three other youths were arrested early Wednesday. Iler pleaded innocent to two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of marijuana possession.
"I feel terribly embarrassed," Iler said in a statement Thursday. "I never, ever would or did rob anybody in my life. I know that the events of the past two days have been extremely difficult for my family and friends, and for that I am deeply sorry."
The four were picked up by New York police for allegedly robbing two teens. 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 to harm the victims if they did not comply.
Iler's lawyer, Steven Mintz, said Iler was not involved.
"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."
Iler 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."
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.
None of the teens had criminal records, police said. Iler could face 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
In a statement Thursday, HBO said: "We look forward to Robert joining us when The Sopranos resumes production in the fall."