Catherine Zeta-Jones Seeks Leniency for Convicted Stepson

04/07/2010 at 02:00 PM EDT

Catherine Zeta-Jones Seeks Leniency for Convicted Stepson
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Cameron Douglas
Jason Kempin/FilmMagic; Getty
As a federal judge weighs whether to send Cameron Douglas to prison for possibly 10 years or more, his stepmother Catherine Zeta-Jones hopes the judge will consider the 31-year-old's "positive attributes" along with the drug charges against him.

"As a mother to Cameron's half brother and sister, Dylan and Carys, I have seen Cameron be an exceptional brother to both," the Oscar-winning actress, 40, wrote to U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in one of more than two dozen letters from family members and friends in support of Cameron.

"Never, in my experience over the years, has Cameron shown any signs of the disease, that has tormented him, toward his siblings, or has [he] ever been abusive to us as a family at any time," she wrote.


"My stepson is a caring, considerate, worthy human being, but never the less, the disease, that for years he has tried to combat, did take over again. What is wrong, is wrong, but may all these positive attributes prevail, so that a facility that he is positioned in, will help rehabilitate him," she added.



A letter from Cameron's father, Michael Douglas, 65, was not included in the court record, but one from his grandfather, legendary screen star Kirk Douglas, was made public, along with one from Cameron's mother, Diandra DeMorrell Douglas.

Gratified Grandfather

Kirk Douglas, now 93, noted that he had traveled from Los Angeles to New York City to see Cameron, who has been held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center since August. "I was gratified to see how well he was taking his incarceration. He had no one to blame but himself. 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," the elder Douglas wrote.

Douglas, whom Cameron calls "Pappy," wrote that he was surprised by Cameron's arrest on drug trafficking charges. "I was shocked when he got in such a mess," he wrote, but then added, "I am convinced that Cameron could be a fine actor and a person that cares for others. I hope I can see that happen before I die. I love Cameron."


In an emotional letter, Cameron's mother Diandra De Morrell Douglas wrote, "As Cameron Douglas' mother, I can tell you that this is the most painful letter I've ever had to write. I am writing to you to plead for leniency in your sentencing of my son, the only blood relative I have left in this world."

Pressures of Fame

While parts of her letter are blacked out, De Morrell Douglas suggests that her son got involved in drugs in high school and struggled to step out of the shadow of his famous father and grandfather, and that his life began to spiral out of control after his career as a deejay, while initially successful, failed to take off.

In court filings, Cameron's lawyer, Nicholas De Feis, says, "Cameron is nearly eight months sober, the longest period of sobriety he has experienced in his adult life. There is no question that if allowed to continue treatment, full rehabilitation is within Cameron's reach."

Come April 14, Douglas is set to be sentenced. Though the charges against him carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, the judge has discretion and can hand out a lesser sentence. His lawyer Nicholas De Feis has asked the judge to consider sentencing Douglas to time-served and to a drug treatment program followed by lengthy supervised release, or if the judge deems it necessary, a reduced sentence of 42 months that would include drug treatment.



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