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‘Sopranos’ Son Pleads Guilty

April 24, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Robert Iler, who plays the rebellious, pot-smoking son of a mob boss on HBO’s ``The Sopranos,″ pleaded guilty Tuesday to mugging two youths and stealing $40.

Iler, 17, admitted to misdemeanor petty larceny in return for a sentence of three years’ probation. Iler was granted youthful offender status, and his record will be sealed.

A co-defendant, Alban Selimaj, 17, entered the same plea.

The two were originally charged with second-degree robbery for the incident last July 4. A conviction on that charge carried a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

Iler told the judge he and Selimaj spotted two youths walking toward them and decided to ``hassle″ the pair. Iler was arrested a few blocks away.

Iler’s lawyer, Robert Morvillo, said the plea deals were ``fair and just.″

``My view is that he was a 16-year-old boy in the wrong place at the wrong time and didn’t have enough sense to walk away,″ Morvillo said.

After the plea, Iler’s manager, Jeff Mitchell, read a statement in which the actor apologized ``for all the grief and trouble everybody went through.″

A third suspect, Michael Cournede, 20, still faces trial on the robbery charge. He has pleaded innocent. A fourth suspect who was 15 was turned over to juvenile authorities and his case is being handled by Family Court.

Iler portrays the troubled Anthony ``A.J.″ Soprano Jr. on the HBO television hit about gangland life, ``The Sopranos.″

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