Cameron Douglas Sentenced to 5 Years in Drug Case
By Marc Schneider Posted Apr 20th 2010 03:58PM
Calling it his "last chance to make it," a New York judge on Tuesday sentenced Michael Douglas' son to five years in prison for his role in dealing methamphetamine and cocaine in New York City, the AP reports. Cameron Douglas apologized to Federal Judge Richard Berman and the court and admitted he was responsible for not turning his life around. In addition to jail time, Douglas was ordered to pay $25,000 in fines and will spend an additional five years in a release program.
The 31-year-old actor had faced 10 years behind bars, but the sentencing is seen as a clear rejection of the defense's request that Douglas serve, at most, three and a half years in prison.
Michael Douglas was in the courtroom for the announcement and appeared dejected as he and ex-wife Diandra Luker, Cameron's mother, exited the building. On Monday, the famed 'Wall Street' actor penned a personal letter asking a judge to have mercy on his son, writing that the family's long history of drug abuse exacerbated his downward spiral.
"He is an adult and responsible for his own actions," Michael Douglas wrote, but added that "genes, family and peer pressure" also contributed to his son's substance abuse problems, which led to his getting involved in drug-dealing.
Berman said he read the father's letter, along with others sent from supporters who all shared the same belief that Douglas was ready to "turn his life around." However, the judge determined full rehabilitation outside of prison would "be a very difficult chore," adding, "I think this case and this sentencing may well be his last chance to make it."
Michael Douglas Snapshots
Michael Douglas and ex-wife Diandra Luker exit Manhattan federal court amid a crush of reporters following the sentencing of their son Cameron on Tuesday. Cameron received a 5-year sentence after pleading guilty to drug charges. More Photos >>
Douglas was swept up at the Hotel Gansevoort as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration probe, in which investigators said he was paid tens of thousands of dollars for smuggling meth -- what he referred to in intercepted phone calls as "pastry" or "bath salts." Cash and drugs were routinely exchanged from coast to coast through shippers like FedEx, a criminal complaint said.
Defense lawyers argued Douglas came to New York to look for an apartment when he had a chance encounter outside the hotel with a fellow guest and drug dealer who invited him to dinner. Afterward, the dealer asked Douglas if he could send him a pound of meth. "Still impaired by his addiction, Cameron agreed and later flew to California to arrange the requested transaction," court papers said.
In his letter to the court, Michael Douglas painted his son's problems with substance abuse as the product, in part, of a privileged but difficult childhood and the long shadow cast by a family of screen icons. "I have some idea of the pressure of finding your own identity with a famous father," wrote Douglas.
Douglas lists several Douglas family members who have grappled with substance abuse, but those names have been blacked out. Michael's half-brother, Eric, died of a drug overdose in 2004.
The five-page letter joined others written to the court by Cameron's supporters, including grandfather Kirk Douglas and stepmother Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Zeta-Jones wrote that while his drug addiction had taken over his life in recent years, he remained a "caring, considerate, worthy human being." She did not argue that Cameron should not pay for his crime. "What is wrong, is wrong," she admits. "But may all these positive attributes prevail, so that a facility that he is positioned in, will help rehabilitate him."
In his letter, Kirk Douglas asked the judge to spare his grandson from a lengthy sentence, saying he hopes to see him turn his life around "before I die." The elder Douglas, 93, visited Cameron in jail recently, where he "didn't express any self-pity, nor did he ask for any. The only sorrow he expressed was for the trouble he had caused others. ... I was shocked when he got in such a mess."
He concluded: "I'm convinced Cameron could be a fine actor. ... I hope I can see that happen before I die. I love Cameron."
The young Douglas has acted in a handful of movies including 2003's 'It Runs in the Family,' starring his father and grandfather, but his Hollywood career has sputtered since then. According to his IMDB page, Douglas' next project was supposed to be 'The Beautiful Outsiders,' a film in pre-production also starring Corey Feldman and Shannen Doherty.
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