Sopranos actor professes innocence

The teen-ager who plays A.J. on The Sopranos said on Thursday he feels "terribly embarrassed" over being arrested and accused of mugging two tourists for $40, Reuters reports.

Robert Iler, 16, and three friends allegedly robbed two teen-age Brazilian boys outside a deli on Manhattan's Upper East Side early on Wednesday morning and were arrested nearby when the victims pointed them out to police. Iler, who plays A.J. Soprano, the pot-smoking teen-age son of fictional mob boss Tony Soprano, on the hit HBO show, was allegedly carrying marijuana when he was arrested.

In a brief statement issued by his publicist, Iler said he was innocent of the robbery charge: "I feel terribly embarrassed. I never ever would or did rob anyone 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 sorry."

According to the criminal complaint, Iler and his friends threatened their victims, saying: "Give us your money. Do you wanna die? Do you wanna die?" Iler's defense attorney said his client had his back turned and never saw the alleged robbery or heard any demand for money.

The victims, Tiago Cordiero and Eduardo Weiss, both 16, flagged down a police car and with the officers spotted the alleged robbers sitting on a park bench several blocks away.