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Polanski Arrested by Swiss Police at Behest of LA Prosecutors

Polanski Arrested by Swiss Police at Behest of LA Prosecutors

Thompson on Hollywood

A.P. reported Sunday morning from Zurich, Switzerland that Swiss police detained 76-year-old Paris-based filmmaker Roman Polanski. He was traveling to the country to accept a lifetime honorary award from the Zurich Film Festival, which meant the authorities knew he was coming.

I checked for the story online and came upon a fascinating posting which appears to be an internal A.P. memo about how they’re going about covering what is a huge international breaking story. Why did Polanski go into Switzerland in such a public way? Had he become complacent about this outstanding 1977 arrest warrant, after fleeing the country 31 years ago? Did the Swiss government change its mind about how it would treat him? Will be be brought back to the U.S. to finally face trial sentencing on his guilty plea after all these years?

UPDATE: The LAT reports that LA prosecutors planned the whole thing with the Swiss government after learning about the award. Looks like this is one prize Polanski should not have tried to accept. Screen reports that Cannes’ Thierry Fremaux has enlisted Harvey Weinstein to organize a group to protest Polanski’s extradition.

Polanski, who did not accept in person the best director Oscar for 2002’s The Pianist, was in the news again last year when Marina Zenovich’s documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired played Sundance, Cannes and HBO, stirring up questions about how the judge in the original case handled the director, who has been seeking to have the case overturned. But that did not happen. You can run, but you can’t hide.

[Photo: AP/Getty]

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One wonders, regardless of the behavior of the courts, the lawyers and the media, well documented in Marina Zenovich’s first rate film, Polanski did commit statutory rape. Adults should have better judgement.

While his talents as a filmmaker and artist are first rate why should Polanski be treated differently than any pedophile? The girl was 13 at the time. She’s not on trial.


But as I reported on my blog about his case, Polanski has been to Switzerland many times and in fact has a second home there, so why did the Swiss authorities this time go along with the L.A. County DA’s office? One guess, as reported by the BBC, was because the Swiss government was anxious to get back into the good graces of the U.S. government after its investgation of shady secret Swiss bank accounts


I don’t believe he’ll be facing trial. He pleaded guilty in ’78 and was awaiting sentencing. Having already fled once no judge will give him bond, so if the Swiss extradite him he’s toast. And an idiot, being under effective house arrest in France for the rest of his life wouldn’t have been a bad life.

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