updated 1/11/2009 6:59:10 PM ET 2009-01-11T23:59:10

A waiter who shocked guests at a Jewish wedding by playing a recording of a crowd chanting in Arabic has pleaded not guilty to felony harassment.

Stephen Buttafuoco, 23, said he was playing the recording for a co-worker and was unaware it was being amplified over a sound system at the Woodbury Jewish Center during the Jan. 4 wedding, his lawyer Tom Spreer said.

Investigators said he made the recording when he attended a rally opposing the Israeli offensive in Gaza, during which protesters chanted, "Allah Akbar," or "God is great."

Buttafuoco was arrested Friday and arraigned Saturday. He was scheduled to be released on $1,500 bail, his lawyer said.

Spreer said Buttafuoco's father is a former Marine and pastor of a church, and the family wished "to apologize to everyone who attended the wedding."

Police initially said Buttafuoco also had been charged with disrupting a religious service. Spreer said that charge was not introduced at his arraignment. Newsday reported a grand jury would consider whether to bring the charge.

Police said the defendant is not related to Joey Buttafuoco, whose 17-year-old lover Amy Fisher shot his wife in the face more than a decade ago.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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