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‘Avatar’ Actor Sam Worthington Appears Before NYC Judge

Actor Sam Worthington appears in court after being arrested on Sunday, February 23, 2014 for allegedly punching a photographer on February 26, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

Actor Sam Worthington appears in court after being arrested on Sunday, February 23, 2014 for allegedly punching a photographer on February 26, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Australian actor Sam Worthington has been arraigned on two counts of misdemeanor assault, attempted assault and a count of harassment after being accused of punching a photographer.

The 37-year-old “Avatar” star said nothing Wednesday as he entered Manhattan Criminal Court in a navy blue pea coat surrounded by photographers.

He was ordered to stay away from photographer Sheng Li for six months and was released on his own recognizance.

Prosecutors say he told officers after the scuffle Sunday in Greenwich Village that he was protecting his girlfriend. They say he punched Li in the face after Li allegedly kicked Worthington’s girlfriend Lara Bingle in the shin.

Li was also arrested on reckless endangerment, assault and harassment charges. His lawyer says he shouldn’t have been.

Defense lawyer Stacey Richman told the judge Worthington has been relentlessly followed by photographers.

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