NEW YORK (AP) — A judge who sentenced Michael Douglas' son to nearly a decade in prison several years ago told him on Wednesday that he can go to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman cleared a path to Hollywood for Cameron Douglas after attorney Ben Brafman said his client planned to initially live with his grandfather, 100-year-old screen legend Kirk Douglas, as he looks for his own place.
The clearance came after probation authorities indicated that the 38-year-old New York City resident has remained clean during drug testing and obeyed court-ordered conditions since his release from a halfway house in March.
One of his first projects could be his own story. The lawyer said Douglas is considering writing a book about his life after his long stint behind bars.
He was initially sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty in connection with selling methamphetamine in July 2009 from a high-end Manhattan hotel.
The judge added 4 ½ years to the sentence after it was discovered that Douglas had successfully smuggled drugs into prison.
In court, Brafman called Douglas' confinement difficult, saying "being the son of a famous person" and being housed with prisoners who knew he had cooperated with prosecutors at a drug supplier's trial had made him a target.
Brafman said it was necessary for Douglas to live in Los Angeles, so that he can audition for acting roles and be on set during filming.
At a sentencing hearing in 2010, Douglas called being an entertainer his "true passion in life." Before imprisonment, Douglas had landed minor film roles, including one in 2003's "It Runs in the Family," starring his father and grandfather.
The lawyer said Douglas has the support of his famous family, including his Oscar winning father.
"The whole family's on board to see that he continues his treatment and continues to improve," Brafman said.
Douglas' girlfriend is expected to deliver their child in late November or early December, Brafman said. The couple plans to spend the holidays in New York with his father and the rest of his family after Douglas moves to Los Angeles Nov. 1 to pursue film opportunities.
The judge said he was disappointed Douglas had not yet begun 450 hours of community service he is required to perform.
Brafman said it had been decided that Douglas would be better off starting his community service in Los Angeles instead of New York because any location has to clear potential liability issues related to a volunteer who has spent time in prison.
Douglas also declined comment as he walked hand-in-hand from the courthouse with his girlfriend.
This story has been corrected to show that Cameron Douglas is 38 years old, not 39.