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Musician in Philip Seymour Hoffman probe seeks drug court

A musician arrested on heroin-possession charges amid an investigation into Philip Seymour Hoffman's death hopes to resolve the case with treatment, according to a court filing Tuesday.

Saying that his heroin addiction was a major factor in his alleged crimes, Robert Vineberg asked for the case to go to a drug court designed to channel users to rehab instead of prison.

"Mr. Vineberg is desirous of confronting and successfully dealing with his substance abuse problem and becoming a sober, again-productive member of society," wrote his lawyer, Edward Kratt.

The Manhattan district attorney's office hasn't yet responded to the request, and a judge hasn't yet ruled.

Vineberg, 57, is a longtime jazz and pop studio musician who has played, under the name Robert Aaron, on albums by artists including David Bowie, Mick Jagger and the late Amy Winehouse. But his musical career has foundered in recent years.

As police followed a tip after Hoffman's Feb. 2 death in an apparent heroin overdose, they said they found about 300 one-dose packets of heroin and $1,300 in cash in Vineberg's apartment and music studio.

He's facing felony charges of possessing heroin with the intention to sell it, but he's not charged with any role in Hoffman's death.

If Vineberg, who pleaded not guilty Tuesday, is approved for drug court and succeeds in treatment, the charges could eventually be lowered or dismissed. He's being held on $200,000 bond.

Vineberg has said he was a friend of Hoffman's but has denied providing the heroin that authorities said they found in the Academy Award-winning actor's apartment.

Vineberg told the New York Post in a jail interview that his last contact with the actor was a December exchange of text messages about attempts both were making at sobriety.


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