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)

Portland Weather

condition Condition: Light rain
Temperature: 45°
High: 46° - Low: 35°

Latest Headlines

in Music

Taylor Swift named among world’s greatest leaders in new Fortune poll

Singer Taylor Swift attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York.

Taylor Swift ranks two spots behind Pope Francis in a new Fortune.com poll of the World's Greatest Leaders.

in Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ to end after season six

This photo released by PBS and Carnival Film and Television Limited shows, from left, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore, and Sophie McShera as Daisy, in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey." As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, it remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them. The show premieres Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9 pm ET on PBS.

Producers confirm that the next season of "Downton Abbey" will be the last.

in Music

Luke Bryan joins the Chicago White Sox

Luke Bryan poses in the press room with the award for entertainer of the year at the 48th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn.

Luke Bryan joined the Chicago White Sox for spring training in Arizona.