'Avatar' actor Sam Worthington appears before judge

'Avatar' actor Sam Worthington appears before judge

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Fashion model Lara Bingle, left, and actor Sam Worthington, right, attend the MBFW 2014 Fall/Winter Alexander Wang fashion show, on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP) Fashion model Lara Bingle, left, and actor Sam Worthington, right, attend the MBFW 2014 Fall/Winter Alexander Wang fashion show, on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) - Australian actor Sam Worthington has been arraigned in New York on counts including misdemeanor assault for allegedly punching a photographer, who also was charged in their encounter.

The 37-year-old "Avatar" star was ordered on Wednesday to stay away from photographer Sheng Li for six months. Worthington was released on his own recognizance.

Prosecutors say Worthington punched the photographer in the face in a scuffle Sunday in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. They say he told officers he was protecting his girlfriend.

Defense lawyer Stacey Richman told the judge photographers have relentlessly followed Worthington. Earlier, the actor had no comment when he entered Manhattan Criminal Court.

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

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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