Actor Chazz Palminteri (pictured) says former protege Lillo Brancato — who was involved in a burglary that led to a cop’s death — has ‘made monumentally bad choices.’
The Bronx-born Oscar nominee told the Daily News that he has zero interest in speaking with the newly paroled Brancato, who starred opposite Palminteri in the 1993 classic “A Bronx Tale.”
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s made monumentally bad choices and has to live with the consequences,” Palminteri said Saturday. “I don’t want it in any way understood that I’m working with him or in contact with him. … I really have nothing to say (to him).”
Richard Harbus for New York Daily News
Brancato (pictured) was recently released from prison after serving eight years for a burglary that led to the death of Officer Daniel Enchautegui, who was killed by one of Brancato’s pals.
Tough-guy Palminteri, an active advocate for the NYPD, said his time and respect are reserved for the city’s Finest — like Officer Daniel Enchautegui, killed by a Brancato pal in December 2005.
The officer is the forgotten hero of this Bronx tale as one-time Hollywood hot shot Brancato angles to get his career back on track, according to Palminteri.
Brancato, in his first post-prison interview, told The News that he hoped to contact Palminteri and his other “Bronx Tale” co-star, Robert De Niro.
While Brancato tries to relaunch his career, Palminteri says that slain Officer Daniel Enchautegui (pictured) is the real hero of this story.
A spokesman for De Niro said the two-time Oscar winner was out of the country and unreachable.
Palminteri recalled Brancato turning a deaf ear to his advice when the two were on speaking terms.
“I would say, ‘I warned you about drugs years ago’ — and told him something would happen and something did happen,” Palminteri recalled. “I would see him and say, ‘I hear you’re doing drugs and you should stay away from that stuff.’ And he’d say, ‘Oh, sure, right.’”
Enchautegui (pictured) was killed by a Brancato pal in December 2005 after a botched burglary.
Palminteri rejected Brancato’s version of Enchautegui’s murder after a botched burglary. Brancato, 37, blames his heroin addiction for his criminal behavior, and crime partner Steven Armento for the murder.
“You were there,” Palminteri said bluntly. “You caused it.”
Brancato, acquitted of felony murder, served eight years for burglary before his New Year’s Eve parole.
Palminteri, who visited with the Enchautegui family, is a co-founder of the Childreach Foundation. The group helps special-needs kids with parents in law enforcement.
Palminteri said Brancato missed the main message in “A Bronx Tale,” delivered by De Niro’s character: “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices you make will shape your life forever.”
Brancato is a living illustration. “Here’s a guy who was in the quintessential movie about not wasting your life and that’s exactly what he did,” said an exasperated Palminteri.