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Roman Polanski's attorneys stunned by arrest

Director Roman Polanski and his attorneys were stunned by his arrest in Switzerland on Saturday on a child sex charge filed decades ago in Los Angeles, according a French newspaper report.

“We absolutely were not expecting such an arrest, in so far as he regularly goes to Switzerland, and he’s done so for several years,” lawyer Herve Temime told Le Figaro, adding that Polanski “even owns a chalet situated in the Gstaad," a Swiss ski village.

Polanski was arrested 31 years ago at a Beverly Hills hotel after a 13-year-old girl accused him of sexually assaulting her during a photo shoot at actor Jack Nicholson's house.

A 1978 arrest warrant, issued after he failed to appear at his sentencing on a statutory rape conviction, is still in effect, and he would be taken into custody upon arrival on U.S. soil. The director of "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" has not returned to the U.S. since then but continues to work as a director, winning an Oscar for "The Pianist."

Temime told Le Figaro, “At no time, up until today, has he been under an investigation by the Swiss justice [system].  Generally speaking, Roman Polanski never stopped traveling all over the world despite the existence of an American arrest warrant.”

The lawyer said that Polanski was able to inform his wife of the arrest, and that “his wife and his children were very shocked ... ; however, they remain supportive and confident.”

Temime said he would be flying to Zurich, Switzerland, tonight with Polanski’s wife to meet with Polanski’s Swiss lawyer, and plead for his release.

“We are going to argue a defense based on the extradition procedure,” he explained. 

Temime said there is “a problem” with the extradition order because “the supposed victim withdrew [her claim] many years ago.”

“Humanely, it seems to me unbearable that 30 years after the events, a 76-year-old man, who obviously presents no danger to society, and whose reputation on the artistic and personal level is clearly established, can be subjected to a single day in jail,” the lawyer said.

In a statement, the director's three Los Angeles attorneys, Douglas Dalton, Chad Hummel and Bart Dalton, who are representing him an ongoing attempt to have the case against him dismissed on the grounds of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, said, “We were unaware of any extradition being sought, and separate counsel will be retained for those proceedings."

Their request to have the 1977 charges against Polanski dismissed is pending before the state Court of Appeal.

-- Harriet Ryan in Los Angeles and Devorah Lauter in Paris, who translated the Le Figaro news report

Comments () | Archives (30)

I am not shocked that he has been arrested & detained on a warrant so many years old because it doesn't matter now. What does matter is the fact that he is a pedophile & has been so widely received & accepted in the cinema world as if he's never done anything wrong. He is a CHILD MOLESTER & THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT!

Arrested for a crime that does not exist in most European Countries

Another miscreant behind bars. The world is becoming a better place. Have Roman's children ever been tested for abuse?

It's history. Get over it and put it behind you. It is not worth the effort now. Justice, to be useful, must be sure and swift. This little man has a horrific personal memory. Let God sort it out. Drop it!

This is great news on the arrest of Mr. Polanski. He is a "Pedophile" and no matter how long ago this took place he should be prosecuted for it. If he was so innocent, then he should have faced the music in proving his innocence.

Ironic that you have to be at least 13 to post on this board but that it's not a requirement for being assualted. If he is found guilty, his fame and 'artistic reputation' should not alter his sentence in any way. If found guilty, he should be sent to prison and registered as a sex offender just like anyone else would be.

What a waste of time. Seems underage sex is just FINE if your mother is a leading US politcial figure.

And its OK apparently for the area I live in in CA to be CRAWLING with live-kicking sex offenders. All round my childrens schools,
when THEY should be pushing up daisies.

The Polanski issue is just another US media induced circus to detract from a FRAUD perpetrated against EVERY US taxpayer with our 'bailouts'.

pulp-junk for the likes of the so called news networks on 'CNN' and 'Fox' I'm sure.

Roman Polanski is a great artist. I love his films and I have plenty of company. The crime occurred long ago and the victim has expressed indifference over whether he should still be pursued, much less charged. None of this has anything to do with the issue.

Roman Polanski raped a 13-year old girl and needs to answer for that crime. Notwithstanding that a 76-year old man is "no longer a danger to society", it should be accepted as a given that he once was. He ran away from justice and he should be held accountable. This is not about revenge or even the victim's desire. This is about administering justice to those who refuse to live by the law.

My god its been 30 some years the girl herself doesnt care...Id get rid of that attorney and find someone who looks out for his client and truly believes in them and is willing to embrace his client and there so called crimes of a distant past..wheres pat bucannon..Im sure the french will agree its such a pleasure to finally see an end to the constant badgering of the old german soldiers of world war 2 my god there victims are dead ...Its been so long Im sure the french are and the poles ect are way past it..You know.. the dreams .. the thoughts of the past..Those men who were after all only taking orders...Of coarse roman does not need that defense.. she was unconscious...

I think this is a very important case, in which he SHOULD be prosecuted for the crime he committed. It shows that no one is above the law.

This guy has FIVE lawyers??? why ??? Must be a reason

So all a person has to do is rape a child, flee the country, be a famous celebrity and all is forgiven after a while and I will become a hero instead. Typical. One rule for the 'elite' and another for the 'common folk'.

Free Roman Polanski!

Something is admiss here--- I wonder if this another angle by Roman's lawyers to get this case dismissed. Might work---

I guess the Swiss no longer are discrete given the deal with UBS bank and its U.S. customers and now this.

"Director Roman Polanski and his attorneys were stunned by his arrest in Switzerland on Saturday on a child sex charge filed decades ago in Los Angeles"

Close... He was arrested after fleeing the country after he pled guilty to raping a 13-year old girl. He's been living abroad to avoid serving time in prison for a crime he plead guilty to.

It isn't a mere "charge". It's a guilty plea.

PEDOPHILE! It is SICK that ANYONE would defend him. People act as if he makes a few good movies that he is somehow above the law?? What is wrong with a society where people somehow think that because 30 years has gone by child RAPE is acceptable?

So the cowardly film producer fled the U.S. rather than face his sentencing and punishment like a man. I recall reading about that case 30+ years ago. He's been hiding out in other countries, even protected by them, but still permitted to produce movies that are known hits in the U.S. for which he's made a ton of money. We have all contributed to his success by paying to see his famous films; Meanwhile, the young victim remains as such with no closure or satisfaction for the creep who violated her at the age of 13. For him, life goes on and the criminal beat the system.

Thank you, Steve Cooley. Every time I'm later pleased by the actions of whom I've voted, I cannot resist repeating my appreciation to that "public servant" who's done right.

Fugitive is not the appropriate method to prove prosecutorial or judicial misconduct, regardless of one's status, talent or history of victim status. The fact of the 30+ years lapse since the fugitive warrant was properly issued & the arrest of the named absconder is only a further indictment of the broken criminal justice system.

Interestingly, this is a case where Polanski's the defense team are singlehandedly responsible for stirring up this matter. Polanski wanted to come back to the US to pick up an award. It was their attempt to dismiss the case based on allegations of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct that woke up a matter that had almost been reduced to urban legend. Until that time, no serious attempt had been made to extradite Polanski for years.
However, the defense motion to dismiss caused Supervising Judge Peter Espinosa to rule that Polanski had to appear in court to have his lawyer's motion heard. The allegations of misconduct were serious enough that the DA decided to use legal means to compel Polanski to appear, and thanks to his lawyers' actions, he's now sitting in a Swiss prison while the matter is decided by the Swiss courts. Polanski will likely get released on condition that he remains in Switzerland and the Swiss Courts will likely compel Polanski to be sent to Los Angeles. The victim's views in this case are not as compelling as they may seem; neither the victim nor Polanski deny that the rape occurred, and Polanski did plead to the charged crime. The sole issue is imposition of sentence, and the victim's views are relevant but not dispositive. With hindsight, Polanski's lawyers should have left the whole thing alone, but the arrogance of their client seems to have forced the DA's hand.

SEX OFFENDER .... simple as that!

Child abusers are not famous for commiting one crime and quitting. he should be sent to prison for the rest of life END OF STORY

The French have been pressuring the Swiss to follow FRENCH law on French citizens paying income tax on earnings in Swiss banks. That is not a Swiss law, but the French (and American government) do not care about that. Now the Swiss are enforcing an extradition treaty involving a child rapist and suddenly the French do not want the law of Switzerland or of the US followed.

Does anyone really care..I dont living in LA I clearly remember when it happened..I do find his lawyers reaction amusing..His great talent..It was a minor event,very european...Self centered and arrogant and theyll always be the americans falling all over themselves to agree..so pathetic.. after all she was victim and forgave him..Forgave him for what...She was unconscious roman was the only witness..Maybe he framed himself..

I would suggest that those who are passing judgement and doing so uninformed read the LA Times article written by the victim... and learn some truth:


There is some revealing insight to actually what happened at the time of the assault and the sentencing, as well as how all this has affected this woman. We could all learn something here.

Your article makes it sound like he said she said,really? He plead guilty to sex with a minor & then the judge could not keep his mouth shut & bragged he was going to throw the book at this pervert (as he should have)then an insider warned Polanski age 43 that he was going to prison for along time, then the 43 old pedophile went on the lamb. Do not let this pervert get away with this. The victim has not forgiven him, read her comments to the UK press. She's tired of this & wants it ended. Her assessment of him reveals much, "he's disgusting old man who can not believe everyone would not want to have sex with him."

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