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Top L.A. prosecutor disputes statements from Harvey Weinstein, other Roman Polanski supporters

October 1, 2009 |  2:25 pm

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley responded today to supporters of Roman Polanski after his arrest last weekend in Switzerland, saying that the famed film director committed a crime.

Asked about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s description of Polanski’s offense as a “so-called crime,” Cooley said, “Mr. Polanski pled guilty to a crime. ... And there are still five or six other much more serious charges pending that have yet to be resolved. They won’t be resolved until his final sentence.” 

Cooley declined to talk about how his office intends to handle the 3-decade-old case should Polanski be extradited to the United States.

The moviemaker fled Los Angeles on the eve of his 1978 sentencing after he admitted to having illegal sex with a 13-year-old girl. As part of a 1977 plea bargain with Polanski, prosecutors had promised to drop rape, sodomy and other charges after the sentencing.

Cooley said it was important for authorities to pursue fugitives from justice in such cases.

“It’s about completing justice,” he said. “Justice is not complete when someone leaves the jurisdiction of the court.”

Under California law, the state will pick up the county's cost associated with extradition.

-- Jack Leonard

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