December 21, 2011 / 7:28 PM / in 6 years

Michael Douglas' son handed more prison time

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The son of Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas was sentenced on Wednesday to an additional 4 and a half years in prison for taking drugs while jailed on separate offenses of possessing and dealing narcotics.

Cameron Douglas, 33, who has long struggled with drug abuse, will begin serving that sentence only after he completes his current, five-year prison term he began in April 2010 for possessing heroin and dealing large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine out of a New York hotel room.

Manhattan federal court Judge Richard Berman handed down a stiff sentence that was more than double what prosecutors sought, despite a tearful and contrite Douglas asking the judge to consider his crime a consequence of drug addiction he has been unable to shake.

“You see your honor, I cannot seem to find comfort in my own skin,” Cameron said before sentence was imposed.

In October, Douglas pleaded guilty to possessing illegal drugs while detained in a federal prison -- a crime considered more serious when the defendant already is a federal inmate.

Douglas was caught after a prison official noticed his cell window had been covered up. He was found with a pill and a piece of paper which he later admitted had contained heroin.

“I don’t believe that I have had another case ever ... of a defendant who has so recklessly, and flagrantly and wantonly, and criminally acted in as destructive and manipulative a fashion as Cameron Douglas has,” Berman said.

The judge said Douglas did not deserve any leniency for admitting to taking the drugs because he lied to investigators when they asked where he obtained them. A witness later told prison officials he delivered the drugs to Douglas.

In handing a heavier sentence than the 12 to 18 months the government had requested, the judge said a pattern of “reckless, disruptive and non-compliant” behavior by Douglas since his arrest in 2009 needed harsher punishment.

In one instance, Douglas convinced a defense attorney to smuggle prescription drugs for him in her bra when she visited him in prison, the judge said.

Criminal charges against the attorney, Jennifer Ridha, were dismissed in July. A lawyer for Ridha did not immediately return a call seeking comment. She is no longer Douglas’ attorney.

At the time of his 2009 arrest, Douglas agreed to cooperate with agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration who are pursuing other cases. He recently testified in the Manhattan federal court trial of one of his drug suppliers.

The case is U.S. v. Cameron Douglas., No. 09-01082, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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