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)

Latest Stories

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Nov. 24

Fresh
FILE- This is a 1967 handout image from Parlophone of The British group, The Beatles,. From left, are: Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney; and George Harrison. The woman who as a child was the basis for the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is gravely ill. It was thought by many at the time that the psychedelic song from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band was a paean to LSD because of the initials in the title, but it was actually based on a drawing that John Lennon's young son Julian brought home from school. He told his father the drawing was of Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Lucy Vodden, now living in Surrey just outside of London _ drifted apart after schoolyard days, but they have gotten back in touch as Lennon has tried to help Vodden cope with Lupus, a life-threatening disease.

A look back at some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Protest Outside Phi Kappa Psi Triggers Trespassing Arrests

D

Four people have been arrested for trespassing at a fraternity house associated with UVA.

in Local Sports, Sports, UVA Sports

Virginia Downs Miami 30-13 On Senior Day

NCAA Football: Miami at Virginia

Virginia defeats the Hurricanes to keep bowl hopes alive.

in Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Radford Includes Gender ID In Anti-Discrimination Policy

Kyle Penny 91110 CC

Radford University now includes trangender students and employees as part of its anti-discrimination policy.

in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA, Virginia Assembly

UVA Takes Action Following Incident Chronicled In Rolling Stone

D

University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan has taken action regarding offenses that were highlighted in a Rolling Stone article.