UPDATE: Polanski has lost this latest bid to toss out the sexual abuse conviction that has haunted him since 1977, a year before he fled to exile in Europe.
In a ruling on Tuesday in Los Angeles (and announced today), LA Superior Court Judge James R. Brandlin rejected celebrity and civil liberties attorney Alan M. Dershowitz’s claim, which Dershowitz founded on judicial misconduct (as outlined below). The judge stated:
“whether he (Polanski) is entitled to an evidentiary hearing to resolve his allegations of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct, even while he remains a fugitive from justice…The answer is no.”
Brandlin went on to say that Polanski is “not requesting dismissal of the prosecution; instead, he seeks an evidentiary hearing without any statutory or constitutional basis for doing so.”
Fugitive, French-residing Polanski would have to show up to California court in order to receive this evidentiary hearing.
EARLIER: Longtime celebrity lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz, who has represented clients including Julian Assange and Patty Hearst, and his team filed a motion in Los Angeles on Monday to represent Polish turned French director Roman Polanski who, at 81, wants to put an end to the circuitous statutory rape case that has followed him since he fled the US in 1978.
According to The New York Times, “The filing charged prosecutors with providing false information to support a recent attempt to have Mr. Polanski extradited from Poland.” Back in October 2014, Roman Polanski was released by Polish officials who were questioning him after a US attempt at extradition. American officials asked that Poland seize the “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby” director while he was attending a Jewish museum opening in Warsaw. But after questioning Polanski, Poland let him off the hook.
The recent filing by Dershowitz also demanded “a hearing aimed at closing [Polanski’s] case, based partly on fresh testimony that a Superior Court judge, in 2009, had unethically prejudged issues related to Mr. Polanski’s prosecution, and had a secret plan to jail him at least briefly…” In 2009 Polanski was detained by Swiss police in Zurich for over nearly three months at the behest of US officials.
The US has been chasing the dual French-and-Polish Polanski for nearly four decades, going back to 1977 when he was charged with drugging and raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer; Polanski was imprisoned for psychiatric evaluation but absconded before sentencing. “Since fleeing for Europe,” NYT writes, “Polanski and his legal team have argued that his rights had been violated and that he had served his full sentence, with California officials insisting he return so his case could be heard.”
Marina Zenovich’s 2008 documentary “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” takes a close look at this controversial case; a followup film “Odd Man Out” includes Polanski’s successful battle to evade extradition. Polanski has long wanted to return to Poland to shoot a film about the Dreyfus Affair, where in the late 19th-century French officer Alfred Dreyfus, of Jewish heritage, was accused of leaking intel to Germany. But in order to do so, Polanski would need protection against being extradited once again.
His latest film, the ribald backstage two-hander “Venus in Fur,” is streaming on Netflix.