The man accused of selling Philip Seymour Hoffman the heroin that killed him says he’s not a drug dealer. In fact, he’s such a hopeless heroin addict himself that the 300 bags of heroin police found in his residence were for his own use, 57-year-old Robert Vineberg told a judge Friday.
Vineberg is a longtime jazz musician who says that he was not a drug supplier to Philip Seymour Hoffman, but a friend, and the two would often discuss “books and art.”
“He was a normal guy. You wouldn’t know he was an Oscar winner,” Vineberg said in a February 9 interview with The New York Post. “He loved his kids. I offer my condolences to his family.”
But in the Post interview, Vineberg said that he and Hoffman would battle their addiction together — and that he, Vineberg, was currently not using heroin. That proboked an angry reaction from a judge Friday when Vineberg through his lawyer claimed that he was a heavy heroin addict who used 10 bags of heroin every day and kept 300 bags on hand for personal use.
“He claims he is clean, you claim he is in the throes of a decade or more long addiction,” said Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin, to Vineberg’s lawyer. “Some of the statements made on Mr. Vineberg’s behalf are inconsistent.”
Hoffman was found dead of an apparent heroin overdose in his $10,000 per month Manhattan apartment on February 2. Police recovered more than 70 bags of the drug from the Capote star’s residence.
But Vineberg said that the 46-year-old Hoffman had a 10-bag-per day habit, so the 70 bags were merely a one-week supply.
McLaughlin set bail for the the accused Philip Seymour Hoffman drug supplier at $200,000 bond of $40,000 cash. Vineberg remained in custody over the weekend, with another court date set for Tuesday.
Despite his self-described heavy heroin addiction, Vineberg has had some significant moments as a musician, working with the likes of Madonna as well as a fellow addict, Amy Winehouse.
A friend of Vineberg’s, Michael Holman, who attended the Friday hearing, later told reporters that Vineberg was a “very talented, very generous, very smart” person who was “being railroaded for political reasons.”
Holman said it was not surprising that Robert Vineberg was friends with Philip Seymour Hoffman.
“Robert was friends with a lot of people, a lot of important people, a lot of important artists,” said the friend of the accused Philip Seymour Hoffman dope dealer.