NEW YORK — A judge sentenced Michael Douglas’ son on drug charges to five years in prison Tuesday, calling it his “last chance to make it.”
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman announced the sentence after hearing 31-year-old Cameron Douglas apologize with his father in court, admitting that he had squandered a lot of opportunities to turn his life around.
Early in a sentencing hearing that stretched more than an hour, the judge said he was not confident that Douglas would turn his back on drugs after pleading guilty in January to charges that he dealt large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine.
He noted that he had read at least 37 letters from family, friends and supporters who “believe he has finally bottomed out in terms of his addiction and may be ready to turn his life around.”
Berman, though, said: “In my estimation, that will be a very difficult chore. I think this case and this sentencing may well be his last chance to make it.”
A charge of conspiracy to distribute drugs carried a mandatory 10 years in prison, but the judge said the government had agreed that Douglas qualified for a lesser sentence. It had been revealed at a pretrial hearing that Douglas had tried to cooperate.
Berman said letters written on Cameron’s behalf failed to note the damage drugs do to society.
Berman described how Douglas had abused drugs since age 13 and noted that he had been sober in prison since last August, his longest drug-free stint since his teenage years.
The sentence was a rejection of a request by the defense that Douglas be sentenced to time served or, at most, three and a half years in prison.
When given a chance to speak, Douglas said he had missed seeing how valuable were opportunities to overcome his addiction to heroin earlier in life.
As a result, I squandered a lot of them,” he said. “If I should be so fortunate as to have another chance, I will never squander that opportunity.”
He said he felt the full support of his family for the first time in his life and missed “so dearly being involved in my true passion in life ... which is being an entertainer, putting a smile on people’s faces.”
Prior to the sentencing, Academy Award winning actor Michael Douglas cited in a handwritten letter Cameron’s childhood in a “bad marriage” and “the pressure of finding your own identity with a famous father.”