NEW York City attorney Jennifer Ridha made headlines in October 2011 when it emerged she smuggled drugs into prison for her famous junkie client, Hollywood scion Cameron Douglas.
The disgraced lawyer, then 35, became romantically involved with the cocaine and amphetamine-dealing son of Fatal Attraction star Michael Douglas and was arrested for providing him with contraband, although prosecutors later dropped the misdemeanour case. Cameron is now serving a 9?-year jail sentence.
Now the Chelsea-dwelling brunette has written a memoir about her shocking run-in with the law, evocatively titled Criminal That I Am, due out May 12.
Here are 10 highlights from Ridha?s 250-page mea culpa that show how low she stooped and how she, now an academic who occasionally still practices law, is seeking to mend her reputation:
? Ridha, who was employed by Lankler, Siffert and Wohl ? a top New York law firm that represented Douglas ? first met her so-called ?co-conspirator? in the contraband case in October 2009, a few months after his arrest at the Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking District, where he was found with a massive stash of crystal meth. When she set eyes on the swaggering inmate at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan, she was drawn to two giant tattoos on his forearms. They read ?TICK? and ?TOCK? ? but the old English lettering is so poorly done, she misreads them as ?D**K? and ?C**K.?
? At a subsequent meeting, fashion-conscious Douglas told his team that his too-large prison jumpsuit has been altered by another inmate who works as a ?tailor? for the Gambino family. It was supposed to be a favour, but the white stitching is ugly because the tailor had limited thread inside the facility. Ridha compared it to the stitching on a baseball. Since Douglas was so upset, Ridha brought in a brown Sharpie on her next visit so he could colour in the stitching so it blended in better with his chocolate-colour overalls. ?I?ve just demonstrated to my client that his extra legal needs are my concern,? she writes.
The disgraced lawyer was arrested for providing him with contraband. (Photo: Simon and Schuster) Source: Supplied
? Before she got romantically involved with then-32-year-old Douglas, she writes how his personal assistant-turned-girlfriend, Kelly Scott ? who served more than seven months in jail for smuggling him heroin in an electric toothbrush when he was under house arrest ? was constantly asking her which other girls the womanising felon was associating with. Ridha jokingly nicknamed her ?Mother Goose? as she was the head of a gaggle of starstruck females who clucked around Douglas in prison.
? Douglas? personal psychiatrist, an addiction specialist, confided in Ridha that Douglas suffers from ?comorbid depression? and ?anxiety disorders.? He told her that, if he is moved to a special wing away from the general prison population (because of his celebrity and the fact he is ?cooperating? with the drug enforcement agencies), his symptoms will worsen due to the isolation and limited number of visitors allowed. When the doctors at MCC vetoed the psychiatrist?s prescription of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax to treat Douglas, Ridha was beside herself with worry about his health. By then she had developed feelings for Douglas, and the pair play footsie under the table during attorney briefings.
? In February 2010, after the New York Post revealed Douglas was planning to inform on other drug dealers in a bid to get a plea deal, he was temporarily moved into special custody for his own protection. Ridha became increasingly worried about his growing anxiety level, revealing how he was constantly drenched in sweat and covered in hives. His pupils were also vertical, like a cat. During one of their briefings at MCC, Douglas pleaded with her to supply him with Xanax. ?Just bring them to me,? he said. ?Bring them with you next time.?
? Ridha struggled with her conscience but, believing that she was ?helping? Douglas by bringing in the drug, conceded to his demands. She had a supply of Xanax at home to treat her own anxiety disorder. Although Douglas later claimed in court that Ridha smuggled the pills in her bra, in her memoir, she said that she merely placed them in her back pocket and was never frisked by security. She felt confident having the drugs in her pocket rather than in her bra, because the underwire always set off the security alarm ? but her pockets were never searched. The first time she smuggled in the Xanax, she brought only two pills, which she later concealed in a pretzel bag she hands Douglas during one of their briefings in an all-glass office. Douglas scarfs the pills, along with the pretzels.
? In order to bring in more Xanax pills, Ridha adopted the tried and true method of placing the pills in a kids? party balloon, which she again smuggled into the correctional centre in her pocket. This time, however, so he doesn?t have to swallow them on the spot, Douglas stuffs the balloon into his rectum. So she didn?t have to see this indignity, the lawyer excused herself to the bathroom while Douglas did the dirty deed. Ridha smuggled in approximately 30 tablets in two stages, using the balloons.
? The day before Douglas was due to be transferred to another facility in Pennsylvania, an emotional Ridha blurted out that she loves him. The transfer was postponed and, when she saw him next at MCC, Douglas told her that he loves her, too. He got out of his seat and walked over to her. ?He seems taller, greater, than when he is sitting across from me,? she gushes. ?He grabs me. And kisses me. And I kiss him back.? It?s their first kiss.
? In May 2010, Ridha visited Douglas, sentenced, at this stage, to five years? imprisonment for both possessing heroin and dealing methamphetamine and cocaine. At his new digs in Pennsylvania, the pair shared their first meal together ? a pink lunchmeat sandwich and a chicken cutlet sandwich from a vending machine. She was told that his father, Michael Douglas, visited the previous month and was a hit with the other inmates and visitors, shaking everyone?s hand and treating them respectfully. The couple was allowed to kiss at this meeting but, throughout their romance, the only parts of Ridha?s body that Douglas got to see are above the neck and below the knee.
? Ridha was busted for supplying contraband when federal agents showed up at her door at 6am in February 2010. It turns out that, unbeknown to her, Douglas had ?shared? the Xanax she gave him with other inmates, including one who was a government informant. She only found this out in October 2011, when details of the smuggling emerge during the trials of two of Douglas? drug-dealing associates, brothers David and Eduardo Escalera, against whom Douglas testifies. The New York Post is the first newspaper to name Ridha as the rogue lawyer who supplied the drugs. Ridha, who had left Lankler, Siffert and Wohl and was working at St. John?s University School of Law (where she was subsequently fired), feels betrayed by Douglas ? but, even to this day, is in contact with her former paramour. In December 2011, the Hollywood heir was sentenced to an additional 4? years for dealing drugs in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2018.
This article originally appeared on New York Post.