Hoffman's drug dealer: 'I could have saved him'

Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Photo / AP
Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Photo / AP

A drug dealer charged in connection with Philip Seymour Hoffman's death has claimed he could have saved the Oscar-winning actor, who he alleged had a 10 bag-a-day heroin habit.

In a jailhouse interview on Rykers Island, Robert Vineberg, a jazz musician and fellow junkie, denied selling Hoffman the drugs that killed him, insisting he hadn't seen the star since October or even heard from him since December.

"I could've saved him," Vineberg told The New York Post. "If I knew he was in town, I would've said, 'Hey, let's make an AA meeting.' If I was with him, it wouldn't have happened. Not under my guard."

Vineberg said he had known Hoffman for about a year and the pair were friends, getting together to talk about books and art.

"He was a normal guy. You wouldn't know he was an Oscar winner," he said.

The performer, who has worked with Madonna, Wyclef Jean and the late Amy Winehouse, said he last saw Hoffman in October, when the actor was high at his Mott Street apartment, where police arrested him last week.

After that, things seemed to be looking up for the actor.

He went on a 28-day rehab stint before flying to Atlanta to shoot the upcoming Hunger Games movie.

"He left me a voicemail in December saying, 'I'm clean,'" he said of their final contact.

Hoffman was found dead in his bathroom a week ago with 73 bags of heroin scattered around his West Village apartment.

But Vineberg, 57, denied supplying him with the drugs that killed him. When The Post asked if he had ever sold Hoffman drugs, he refused to answer.

He said he was devastated by Hoffman's death and offered his condolences to his family.

He suggested his brief stint off the drugs may have made him more susceptible to overdose.

"When you're clean for that long of a time, your body can't take as much," Vineberg said. "Your body doesn't have the tolerance."

He added: "He was a hard-core addict."

He is convinced that Hoffman was injecting 10 bags a day.

"How much was he found with? Seventy bags. You do the math ... That's a one-week supply," he said.

NYPD sources told the Post the estimate - about twice that of an average junkie - was about right.

Vineberg was also a drug user and the pair battled with their addiction together, he said.

Vineberg managed to stay clean for a week at a time between relapses and said he and Hoffman would text back and forth, to keep one another on the straight and narrow.

But they fell out of touch late last year.

Vineberg was charged with felony drug possession and was one of three dealers charged in connection with Hoffman's death. A young couple who lived next door to Vineberg's Mott Street apartment, where cops seized 300 bags of heroin, were charged with misdemeanour cocaine possession.

Wearing a gray prison jumpsuit, Vineberg told The Post he's a scapegoat in the case.

His attorney insists there is no evidence to suggest Vineberg supplied Hoffman with the deadly narcotics and claims the pair "were true friends who had bonded over and struggled with the dangerous use of narcotic drugs".

- DailyMail

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