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Victim in Polanski case opposes director’s extradition

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, January 21, 2010 23:00 EDT
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LOS ANGELES — The victim in Roman Polanski’s 1978 child-sex case expressed support for the fugitive filmmaker’s request to be sentenced in absentia, court filings revealed.

An attorney for Samantha Geimer, who was 13 when Polanski allegedly plied her with drugs and alcohol before having unlawful sex with her in 1977, also urged prosecutors to withdraw a request for the director’s extradition.

Polanski, 76, was arrested in September in Switzerland, where he is under house arrest pending extradition to the United States.

Yet Geimer’s attorney Lawrence Silver said in court filings that prosecutors had failed to notify his client before seeking Polanski’s extradition, which he said “violated” California’s constitution.

Geimer also asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza to dismiss the case “on the basis of judicial and prosecutorial corruption” or to sentence Polanski “in absentia.”

Prosecutors rejected Silver’s claims, however, saying they had “consistently and continuously reached out to the victim through her attorney” and that invitations to discuss the case had “never been accepted.”

Espinoza was scheduled to rule Friday on a request by Polanski’s lawyers to be sentenced in absentia.

Polanski allegedly gave Geimer champagne and a prescription drug during a 1977 photo shoot before having sex with her despite her protests.

The director was initially charged with six felony counts, including rape and sodomy. The charge was later reduced to unlawful sexual intercourse after a plea deal agreed in part to spare his victim the ordeal of a trial.

Polanski later served 42 days at a secure unit undergoing psychiatric evaluation but fled the United States on the eve of his sentencing hearing amid fears that the trial judge planned to go back on a previously agreed plea deal.

Polanski’s wife defended him in a rare interview published Thursday, saying the 1970s, when he was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, was a “crazy” age of sexual permissiveness.

Emmanuelle Seigner, the French actress and singer who has been with the French-Polish director for 25 years, spoke out publicly for the first time since his arrest in Switzerland on extradition proceedings in September.

“I am not a super-liberal person who thinks that nothing is that serious,” she told the French edition of the women’s magazine Elle. “I also think that at the time people didn’t live and react in the same way.”

“It was a crazy time. The attitude to drugs was not the same, nor was the attitude to sexual liberty and permissiveness,” said the 43-year-old Seigner, who was 10 at the time of Polanski’s crime.

“My husband has never considered himself above the law,” the 43-year-old Seignier said.

“I knew the story, I had accepted it,” Seigner said in the interview, when asked her feelings about the case. “It’s not as if it happened last week.”

She also talked of her new music album, on which she said she sings a duet with Polanski about a girl who wakes up next to a man she doesn’t know after a drunken fling.

“I was advised to remove it at the time (of his arrest), but I didn’t want to,” she told Elle. “I can assure you there is no special message behind it.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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