Harlem, NY – Dr. Diana Williamson, 56, who pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and health-care fraud charges in April, has asked Judge Loretta Preska that her sentencing not include jail.
Williamson was once lauded for her work with impoverished AIDS patients, but her reputation was deeply damaged in August 2010 when she was arrested for illegally prescribing 28,000 oxycodone pills to AIDS patients who didn’t need them, and then employing drug dealers to put the pills on the street. She also defrauded Medicaid of over $300,000.
However, Williamson claims to have no recollection of those illegal activities because she says she suffers from multiple personality disorder, and that one of her dozen or so personalities, Nala, was responsible. “Nala” is described by Williamson’s attorney, Jonathan Marks, as “mischievous, irresponsible, reckless and, as we have just discovered, criminal.” It is the defense’s hope that its client’s psychiatric issues will be a mitigating factor in the sentencing phase of the trial.
“Nala, in Diana Williamson’s body, committed serious crimes,” Marks said, “The only issue is whether Diana, the host personality, was present when Nala was committing these crimes.” Personally, the most difficult thing to believe here is that Marks probably uttered these words without a hint of smirk.
Williamson was diagnosed about 25 years ago with multiple personality disorder, believed to have been brought on by sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of an infamously pervy priest in Massachusetts. She, or at least her “host” personality, was able to complete college and obtain a masters and doctorate degrees despite the challenges posed by her diagnosed disability.
Williamson’s career as a doctor, however, was punctuated by a number of lengthy hospitalizations because, in addition to her purported psychiatric challenges, she has some pretty serious, well-documented physical health issues including “life-threatening allergic asthma and pulmonary hypertension.” Her lawyer contends that no prison would be able to treat his client effectively, causing a stay of any length to effectively become a death sentence.
The good doctor is facing an 11 to 14 year sentence. Judge Preska has put her decision off until October 19th when a report from the Bureau of Prisons is due.Tags: asthma, Diana Williamson, multiple personality disorder, Nala, New York