Dascha Polanco, who plays prison inmate Dayanara Diaz on "Orange Is the New Black," is facing criminal charges for allegedly beating up a teenage girl in July, Page Six reported on Thursday.
Polanco allegedly attacked 17-year-old Michelle Cardona in her home in Upper Manhattan on July 29. Cardona claims that Polanco punched her in the head three times, pulled her hair and clawed her arms with her nails.
According to Polanco's attorney, Gerald Lefcourt, the New York Police Department issued Polanco a summons shortly after the incident, asking her to appear in court on Aug. 21. Her work schedule prevented her from appearing that day, so her arraignment was postponed until Dec. 3, which is coincidentally the actress' 33rd birthday.
According to Page Six, the actress appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday as scheduled, to face four counts of assault and harassment. The top charge, of assault with intent to cause physical injury, is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison. That would go way beyond method acting.
Lefcourt claims that Cardona's allegations are trumped up, and were motivated by a desire to extort money from Polanco. In a written statement provided to The Huffington Post, he described Cardona as "an illegal in the U.S." who lives in Polanco's neighborhood and "often uses drugs in her building with others even though she doesn’t live there."
Lefcourt said in a phone call with HuffPost that Cardona offered to drop the charges in exchange for a payoff -- and that he has proof.
"This woman was trying to extort Dascha, and her attempts were tape recorded," Lefcourt told HuffPost. "The District Attorney has the tapes, and we expect this case to be dismissed."
Lefcourt said that the next hearing in Polanco's case is scheduled for July 2016.
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