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Roman Polanski's legal team distances him from French attorneys

November 20, 2009 |  3:26 pm

Roman Polanski’s Los Angeles legal team sought to distance the jailed filmmaker today from French attorneys who have given media interviews on behalf of the Academy Award winner.

The comments to the media “were not authorized by Mr. Polanski. The French lawyers do not represent him in the case and do not speak for him about it,” the California attorneys handling the director’s 1977 child sex case said in a written statement.

The statement did not name the unauthorized lawyers, but it came the same day that the French daily Le Figaro published an interview with Parisian lawyer Herve Temime. In the interview, Temime was identified as Polanski’s attorney and said the director, who is being held in Switzerland, would never voluntarily agree to extradition to the United States and had not received a fair trial in Los Angeles.

L.A. attorneys Bart Dalton, Doug Dalton and Chad Hummel wrote, “Any statements made in the press to the effect that Mr. Polanski will not accept lawful orders of the courts, including relating to extradition, are not true.”

Polanski was charged with rape and other crimes after a 13-year-old girl accused him of sexually assaulting her during a photo shoot. He pleaded guilty to a single count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in exchange for prosecutors dropping the other charges and spent 42 days in prison.

He fled to Europe on the eve of sentencing after his lawyer told him the judge intended to make him serve additional prison time.

Polanski, 76, was arrested in Zurich in September. The U.S. request to extradite him to L.A. for sentencing is pending before a Swiss court, and next month a California appellate court is to hear his request for a complete dismissal of charges on the grounds of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct.

-- Harriet Ryan