A jazz musician arrested on drug charges in the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death has filed a request to have his case moved to a drug court in a bid to tackle his substance abuse issues in rehab instead of prison.
Robert Vineberg, also known by his stage name of Robert Aaron, was one of four people taken into custody two days after the tragic actor was found dead in his New York apartment on 2 February (14) as police investigated the source of heroin found at Hoffman's home.
The suspect, who is not believed to have provided the brand of drugs discovered at Hoffman's pad, denied a charge of felony possession of heroin with intent to supply during his arraignment at Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday (18Feb14), claiming the 300 single-dose packets of heroin uncovered at his property had been for personal use.
During Tuesday's hearing, his lawyer Edward Kratt filed a motion to have his client tried in a court specifically for drug users, who are typically sentenced to stints in treatment.
In the legal documents, Kratt writes, "Mr. Vineberg is desirous of confronting and successfully dealing with his substance abuse problem and becoming a sober, again-productive member of society."
A judge has yet to respond to the request.
Vineberg, who worked with artists including rapper Wyclef Jean and the late Amy Winehouse, is currently being held on $200,000 (£125,000) bond.
He recently spoke out about his links to Hoffman, insisting he was a friend and was not responsible for the actor's death, claiming he was being used as a media "scapegoat".