News

Charges dropped against Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s suspected drug dealer

Charges dropped against Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s suspected drug dealer

In this Jan. 19, 2014 photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at The GenArt Quaker Good Energy Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. Photo: Associated Press/Victoria Will/Invision

(Reuters) – The Manhattan district attorney has dropped drug-selling charges against a jazz musician and friend of late film star Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of an accidental drug overdose in February, the New York Times newspaper reported.

Montreal-born Robert Aaron Vineberg, 58, was arrested after police traced what they believed to have been the source of the heroin suspected of killing the Oscar-winning actor. Vineberg was charged with intent to sell heroin.

The charges were dropped on Thursday because of “evidentiary issues that have come to light”, the Times quoted assistant district attorney Jon Veiga as saying.

The district attorney said in an Aug. 14 letter that two police officers who first interrogated Vineberg after his arrest had not read him his Miranda rights — which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney — , rendering his statements to them unusable in court, the newspaper said.

Vineberg pleaded guilty on Thursday to possession of heroin, a lesser felony. He agreed to serve five years’ probation, perform community service, continue drug addiction treatment and to forfeit money confiscated during his arrest, the New York Times reported.

Hoffman, who won a Best Actor Oscar in 2005 for his role as Truman Capote in “Capote”, was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of his Manhattan apartment by police responding to an emergency 911 call.

The cause of death was acute drug intoxication, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine, the New York City Chief Medical Examiner found.

Vineberg painted himself a scapegoat who people blamed because of his connection to Hoffman and denied ever selling the actor drugs.

“At some level, it’s like the Salem witch trials,” Vineberg told the Times this year. “You can’t have a witch hunt without a witch. I’m just unlucky enough to be the guy.”

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Harrison Ford hurt in plane crash

harrisonford

The "Star Wars" star was seriously injured when his vintage plane crashed shortly after taking off from an L.A. airport.

in Entertainment

Peeps milk coming to an Easter basket near you

peeps

Because why shouldn't milk taste more like marshmallows?

in Music

Hall & Oates sue cereal maker

hallandoates

The rockers are not amused by a granola company's clever name for its breakfast food.

in Music

Iron Maiden’s future depends on Bruce Dickinson’s cancer treatment

brucedickinson

Iron Maiden's manager Rod Smallwood updated fans on the singer's progress.

in Music

Kurt Cobain’s childhood home up for sale – again

Kurt Cobain

The Nirvana frontman lived in the home up until he was nine, when his parents separated, and then again from age 16 to 20.