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'Sopranos' actor considers plea deal

Vincent Pastore, who plays Big Pussy, faces assault charge
/ Source: The Associated Press

Vincent Pastore, the actor who played gangster Big Pussy on the HBO hit series "The Sopranos," was offered a plea deal Thursday in connection with charges that he assaulted his former girlfriend. His lawyer said he was considering it.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Weinberg said at a hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court that his office was recommending that Pastore be sentenced to five days of community service, attend a batterers' program and sign a final order of protection.

As Pastore left court, attracting looks of recognition from passers-by, he was asked why he did not accept the plea deal. He replied, "Because I didn't do anything."

Pastore, 58, is free without bail. He has pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanors _ two counts of assault and one each of attempted assault and harassment _ related to an alleged attack on then-girlfriend Lisa Regina, 44, last month in Little Italy.

The actor's lawyer, Dominic Barbara, said, "We received the (plea) offer today, and we are discussing it. We will have a response for the district attorney. We are appreciative that they are treating this case as they would any other."

Judge Larry Stephen ordered Pastore to return to court June 30, when the judge expects to issue decisions on motions from both sides. Meanwhile, Pastore is already bound by an order from his last court appearance to stay away from Regina.

At Pastore's arraignment on April 5, Assistant District Attorney James Zaleta said the actor 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 in their car.

Zaleta said Pastore grabbed Regina tightly by the arm and jerked her out of the car, causing her to hit her head on the door frame. He said that she fell out of the car backward into the street and hurt her lower back and that Pastore drove away.

The prosecutor said Regina was treated at a hospital for lumps, cuts and bruises inflicted by Pastore. 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.

Pastore played the "Sopranos" character Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero, who was killed as payback for snitching on the mob.