NEW YORK (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to a drug charge after a New York dermatologist died of cocaine and alcohol intoxication in his apartment building was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman announced the punishment for James Holder, who had pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug distribution house. Prosecutors had sought a sentence of more than six years.
The case also resulted in a guilty plea earlier this year by a producer of “The Deuce,” an HBO pilot starring James Franco that focuses on the rise of the porn industry in New York in the 1970s and ’80s. Marc Henry Johnson is awaiting sentencing.
Johnson and Holder were arrested after the October 2015 death of Dr. Kiersten Cerveny, a mother of three who was found unconscious in the lobby of Holder’s Manhattan apartment building after she overdosed in Holder’s apartment.
Authorities said the 38-year-old Long Island doctor had been snorting cocaine as she shared drinks with Johnson at a Lower East Side nightspot. They said Johnson was seen on the surveillance cameras of Holder’s building dragging Cerveny down to the lobby. Police said he then called 911 and took off when emergency crews arrived.
In a letter to the judge, Holder apologized and blamed drugs.
His lawyer, Matthew Kluger, successfully argued in a letter entered into the public record Thursday that his client should not be subjected to a $1 million restitution order because Cerveny was responsible for her death.
Kluger said friends of Cerveny had observed her drinking wine, vodka, beer and tequila shots and doing lines of cocaine at a bar and in a hotel room she and her friends had secured for the night.
He said in court that she went to Holder’s building to meet Johnson rather than to get drugs.
In announcing the sentence, the judge said Holder behaved badly in not helping Cerveny after she overdosed.
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