I hate to say it, but I may owe Roman Polanski an apology. This news story pretty much spells out what I knew about Polanski until today:
ZURICH – Director Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss police as he flew in for the Zurich Film Festival and faces possible extradition to the United States for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, authorities said Sunday.
Polanski was scheduled to receive an honorary award at the festival when he was apprehended Saturday at the airport, the Swiss Justice Ministry said in a statement. It said U.S. authorities have sought the arrest of the 76-year-old director around the world since 2005.
“There was a valid arrest request and we knew when he was coming,” ministry spokesman Guido Balmer told The Associated Press. “That’s why he was taken into custody.”
Kiejman later told The Associated Press that France does not extradite its citizens and that U.S. authorities had never asked France to prosecute Polanski at home.
And that’s all well-known, and commonly accepted facts of the case. Then I read the following, which I didn’t know:
Earlier this year, Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza in Los Angeles dismissed Polanski’s bid to throw out the case because the director failed to appear in court to press his request, but said there was “substantial misconduct” in the handling of the original case.
Polanski, the director of such classic films as “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” fled the U.S. for France in 1978, a year after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with the underage girl.
Polanski has asked a U.S. appeals court in California to overturn a judges’ refusal to throw out his case. He claims misconduct by the now-deceased judge who had arranged a plea bargain and then reneged on it.
His victim, Samantha Geimer, who long ago identified herself publicly, has joined in Polanski’s bid for dismissal, saying she wants the case to be over. She sued Polanski and reached an undisclosed settlement.
In 1977, he was accused of raping the teenager while photographing her during a modeling session. The girl said Polanski plied her with champagne and part of a Quaalude pill at Jack Nicholson’s house while the actor was away. She said that, despite her protests, he performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy on her.
Polanski was allowed to plead guilty to one of six charges, unlawful sexual intercourse, and was sent to prison for 42 days of evaluation. Lawyers agreed that would be his full sentence, but the judge tried to renege on the plea bargain. Aware the judge would sentence him to more prison time and require his voluntary deportation, Polanski fled.
Waitaminnit — Polanski pays girl settlement, girl doesn’t want to press charges anymore? Did I read that correctly?
Polanski was going to get a Plea Bargain that fell through? What?
This reads to me one of two ways:
- Polanski was guilty, and trying to buy his way out of this, or
- Polanski was may or may not be guilty, and being blackmailed. When he refused to pay, they pressed charges.
And that bothers me, because when you factor in the “settlement” and the fact that the girl doesn’t want to proceed with the case, this whole thing smells. Smells really, really bad.
And . . . if there’s one thing we all should have learned from the Clarence Thomas Hearings, sexual offenders have a history of repeat behaviors in these areas. Where’s the repeat behaviors with Polanski?
Meanwhile, Polanski’s arrest sparked anger in Europe:
“I think this is awful and totally unjust,” French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand told reporters.
“Just as there is an America which is generous and which we like, so there is an America which is frightening – and that is the America which has just revealed its face,” he said.
The Culture Ministry said French President Nicolas Sarkozy was following the case closely and wanted the swift release of Polanski, while Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he had expressed his concerns to his Swiss counterpart.
“We do not understand why the Swiss invited Polanski to a film festival, where he was to have received a life’s achievement award, and then arrested him,” said association president Jacek Bromski.
“We regard that as a scandalous situation and an example of incomprehensible overzealousness.”
Attorney General Eric Holder certainly seems to making a career of “incomprehensible overzealousness.” Must’ve gone to the Janet Reno school of Law.
What is it with Liberal Administrations and bad Attorneys General anyway?