Philip Seymour Hoffman friend pleads guilty in heroin case
A friend of Philip Seymour Hoffman who was arrested in the investigation following the Oscar winner’s fatal overdose has taken a plea deal that gives him no jail time.
Robert Aaron Vineberg initially faced a felony charge of heroin possession with intent to sell. He pleaded guilty Thursday only to possession and is expected to get five years’ probation, a spokeswoman for the New York County district attorney’s office said.
The jazz musician -- a Canadian whose stage name is Robert Aaron and who played saxophone on the 1983 David Bowie hit “Let’s Dance” -- also agreed to do 25 days of community service, continue a drug treatment program and forfeit about $1,200 that police found in his apartment the night of his arrest, she said. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 14.
Vineberg was arrested Feb. 4, two days after the “Capote” star was found dead at his New York home with a needle in his arm and glassine packets of heroin nearby. The musician also had glassine packets of heroin, plus a bag of cocaine and $1,284 at his apartment in Manhattan, according to a criminal complaint provided by the district attorney’s office.
Hoffman withdrew $1,200 from an ATM near his home the day before he died, law enforcement officials have said, but Vineberg denied selling the actor heroin and has never been charged with doing so. Hoffman’s death was ruled accidental.
Vineberg was clearly relieved after Thursday’s hearing, the New York Times said. “It’s all over,” he told reporters. “The worst part is that I still lost my friend.”
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