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Polanski sues US motion picture academy for reinstatement

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Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski is suing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, demanding his reinstatement nearly a year after the organization expelled him amid the #MeToo movement.

Polanski, who in 1977 pleaded guilty in California to statutory rape, argued in a court filing in Los Angeles that the academy wrongly denied him a hearing when it voted in May to oust him amid the nationwide furor sparked by sexual-abuse revelations against famed producer Harvey Weinstein.

The complaint, filed to the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles on Thursday, says the academy’s board of governors convened on January 26 to re-examine its decision, and confirmed it. Polanski had been a member since 1968.

“The procedures taken to expel Mr Polanski were fair and reasonable,” an academy spokesperson said in a statement cited by Variety. “The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate.” It did not elaborate.

The academy in 2003 had awarded Polanski an Oscar for directing “The Piano.” His many other films include “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown,” which was nominated for 11 Oscars.

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Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to having had unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, later identified as Samantha Geimer.

After serving 42 days in a California prison while undergoing psychiatric evaluation, he fled to France, saying he feared the judge in the case might renege on a plea deal and send him back to jail.

Because he fled the US, charges are still pending against him there. He is a dual French-Polish citizen and has spent much of his life in France.

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– ‘Cruel action’ –

Asked for comment, Polanski attorney Harland Braun sent a link Saturday to an article saying that Geimer, who is now 54, supports Polanski’s desire for reinstatement.

The Academy’s expulsion of Polanski was “an ugly and cruel action,” she told Vanity Fair last year.

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But attorney Braun said Polanski just wanted “a fair hearing.”

“You have an offense that’s 40 years old, in which he has admitted his guilt, he has apologized to the victim, he has done more time than the law requires and the victim has come forward and begged the courts to put an end to it,” Braun told the Los Angeles Times. “What else do they want from an 85-year-old man?”

During his four decades back in Europe, Polanski pursued an active film career.

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But the Weinstein scandal rocked Hollywood, galvanizing many women to come forward with long-repressed complaints.

The academy adopted a new, more stringent code of conduct, and several months after it expelled Weinstein, the group voted to oust Polanski.

It also expelled actor Bill Cosby, himself accused by numerous women of rape or sexual misconduct. Four months later, Cosby was convicted in one assault case and is now serving a prison sentence in Pennsylvania.


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2020 Election

Trump’s racist attacks on Dem lawmakers are a test run in case he faces Kamala Harris in 2020: MSNBC contributor

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Speaking with host Alex Witt on Sunday afternoon, an MSNBC contributor speculated that Donald Trump's racist attack on four female Democrats -- none of whom are white -- was a test run to see how far he can go attacking Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) should she be his opponent in the 2020 general election.

According to Democratic strategist Don Calloway, Trump may not have a grand strategy, but he's in "campaign mode" which brings out his barely concealed inner-racist.

"I'm not one to ascribe a strategy to the president when it's clear he's not a deep thinker, but he is, however, in campaign mode," he explained. "I see this as a good campaign device for him to gin up his base, fueled by the xenophobia and race-based hatred."

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Here’s how lawyers enabling Trump’s obstruction can have their livelihoods stripped from them — by anyone

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In a column for the Daily Beast, a former Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives laid out a simple way to force lawyers advising aides to Donald Trump to defy Congressional subpoenas -- or avoiding one themselves -- to stop giving bad advice by moving to have them disbarred.

According to Brad Miller, who represented North Carolina in Congress between 2003 and 2013, the way in which former President Bill Clinton's impeachment was handled -- and the penalty he eventually received -- is a road map for legal retaliation even if Democrats in Congress won't do it.

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Lara Trump snarls at critics of ‘send her back’ for pushing a ‘biased, racially-charged narrative’

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Lara Trump, the wife of President Donald Trump's son Eric, has accused CNN anchor Anderson Cooper of pushing a "biased, racially-charged narrative" after he criticized her recent defense of the Trump administration over the "send her back" scandal.

This article first appeared on Salon.

"Anyone insinuating that there was some premeditated plan to orchestrate the “send her back” chant is obviously desperate to continue pushing a biased, racially-charged narrative. #FakeNews," Trump posted to her Twitter account on Saturday. She included a link to the Washington Examiner, a right-leaning newspaper which included a quote from Cooper blasting Trump for supposedly "lying" about her role in whipping up a crowd to chant "send her back" about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

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