NEW YORK – Vincent Pastore (search), the actor who played a gangster on the HBO hit series "The Sopranos," was ordered by a judge Tuesday to stay away from the girlfriend he was accused of beating last weekend.
Judge Karen Lupuloff told Pastore, 58, that he was to refrain from writing, e-mailing, calling or trying to see Lisa Regina (search), 44, the woman he allegedly assaulted in his car Saturday.
The actor's lawyer, Dominic Barbara, said his client was pleading not guilty to the four misdemeanors with which he is charged — two counts of assault, one of attempted assault and harassment.
The judge issued the order after prosecutor James Zaleta said Pastore had punched Regina in the back of the head, grabbed her hair, and forced her head down so that she struck her eye on the gear shift.
Zaleta said Pastore grabbed the woman tightly by the arm and jerked her out of the car, causing her to hit her head on the door frame. He said she fell out of the car backward into the street and hurt her lower back. Pastore allegedly drove away.
The prosecutor said Regina was treated at a hospital for cuts and bruises. He did not say why the alleged assault occurred, but published reports said the two argued because Regina was late for a trip they were to take.
The defense lawyer refused to comment as he left court, but on Monday he issued a statement saying, "Mr. Pastore regrets what happened the other night. He and Ms. Regina were in love for a long time and he will have nothing else to say about this. We will not be goaded into a public debate."
As he left court, Pastore stopped and bought a hot dog from a cart outside the front door. "I haven't eaten all day," he said.
Pastore played the "Sopranos (search)" character "Big Pussy," who was killed as payback for snitching on the mob.