Cameron Douglas, Michael Douglas

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Can Michael Douglas' semi-mea culpa help save his son?

The Oscar winner has joined family members in writing a letter to a federal judge asking for leniency for son Cameron in advance of today's sentencing in his drug case.

In a five-page letter, the elder Douglas writes it was his family's fame and long legacy of drug and alcohol abuse that was at least partly responsible for putting Cameron on the wrong path.

"He is an adult and responsible for his own actions," Douglas said in the handwritten missive. "We do know, however, that genes, family and peer pressure are a strong influence on a substance abuser."

Not to mention a certain enabler called showbiz.

"I have some idea of the pressure of finding your own identity with a famous father," Michael writes, referring to his own dad, Spartacus legend Kirk Douglas. "I'm not sure I can comprehend it with two generations to deal with."

The Wall Street star acknowledged that Cameron's upbringing didn't help as the only child of a "bad marriage" between Michael and his first wife, Diandra. Michael explains that he was often away on location, leaving his son without a male role model and "found his family in the gang mentality."

As a result, Cameron got hooked on drugs at 13, started slacking off on his studies and refused to go to rehab. It wasn't until his parents cut him off from the family fortune that he resorted to dealing drugs and getting into this mess.

After admitting he himself was treated for alcohol abuse at an Arizona clinic in the 1990s, MIchael goes on to list other family members who had struggled in the past with addiction, the names of which were blacked out. (Cameron's uncle and Michael's half-brother, Eric, also an actor, died of a drug overdose in 2004.)

Cameron, 31, is facing a minimum 10-year sentence (per federal legal guidelines) after copping to conspiracy to distribute drugs and heroin possession back in January.

But Michael, whose letter follows similar sentiments from Kirk, Diandra and Cameron's stepmom, Catherine Zeta-Jones, would prefer a softer sentence of four years.

"I love my son, but I'm not blind to his actions...I don't want to see him break," he writes. He adds that Cameron has been sober since being locked up in a federal pen last summer, and during his weekly two-hour visits, the 65-year-old Michael says it's joyful to see what "a wonderful young man he can be."

We'll have to wait until this afternoon to see if the judge concurs.


You never know what stars are gonna pop up in our Court Appearances gallery.

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