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Thursday
Feb062014

Philip Seymour Hoffman's Friend Sues over "National Enquirer" Story

Jim Spellman/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- David Bar Katz, a friend of Philip Seymour Hoffman who found the actor's body in his New York City apartment on Sunday, is suing The National Enquirer over what he claims is a fabricated story about his connection to Hoffman.

In his $50 million lawsuit, Bar Katz claims the National Enquirer falsely stated he gave the tabloid an "exclusive" interview in which he allegedly said he and Hoffman were gay lovers. According to Bar Katz, the story also falsely alleged the playwright said he had seen Hoffman freebase cocaine on the night before Hoffman's death, and that he had seen Hoffman use heroin on a number of occasions.

The lawsuit denies the allegations in the story, declaring that Bar Katz never spoke with The National Enquirer.

His lawyer says, "This article is just disgusting. Here you have Phil's family and his friends grieving, and the Enquirer comes along seeking to make a buck through putrid lies. Worse still, it appears that the Enquirer sent out a press release hyping the story so that it could sell more copies of the magazine. I do not know how these people can sleep at night."

Hoffman is believed to have died of a drug overdose. It was announced Wednesday that his autopsy was inconclusive, pending further tests.

Hoffman's funeral will be held at St. Ignatius Church on Manhattan's Upper East Side later this week. It's the same church where the funerals of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and R&B singer Aaliyah took place.

The funeral will be a small private affair for just family and a few friends, according to a spokesman. A larger memorial service, which will also be held in New York City, is being planned for later in the month.

The marquee lights of Broadway were dimmed Wednesday night for one minute at 7:45 p.m. in honor of Hoffman, who was a three-time Tony Award nominee. Fellow actors paid tribute to Hoffman Wednesday night at the the New York theater where he mentored young actors.

In related Hoffman news, three of the four people arrested this week, based on information developed in the investigation into the actor's death, were arraigned Wednesday night in a New York court. Max Rosenblum, Juliana Luchkiw and Robert Vineberg are being held without bail. Their next court date is Feb. 14.

Prosecutors declined to pursue charges against Thomas Cushman. There was no evidence that he had control or possession of the drugs seized.

The attorney for Vineberg says his client "had absolutely nothing to do with the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman." He said Vineberg, a 57-year-old jazz musician with no prior record, was being treated as a "scapegoat" in the apparent overdose death.

Vineberg is believed to have been an acquaintance of Hoffman and had the actor's number in his cellphone.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio