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Roman Polanski grateful for international support, attorney says

October 12, 2009 |  2:41 pm

Roman Polanski

Director Roman Polanski told his attorney that he is grateful for the backing he has received from around the world, his attorney said.

Polanski, who was arrested in Zurich, Switzerland, three decades after fleeing the U.S. to avoid sentencing in a sex assault case involving a 13-year-old girl, has received statements of support from such Hollywood figures as producer Harvey Weinstein and directors Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese. 

Supporters have questioned why Los Angeles prosecutors want to extradite Polanski to the United States now. Others, however, have praised law enforcement officials for wanting to bring Polanski to justice.

In an interview with the French news agency AFP, attorney Herve Temime said Polanski is aware of the debate.

"The filmmaker is very touched by the support he has received," he said.

Temime also said Polanski is also aware that the support might have hurt his cause. "He also knows that some of it is counterproductive," he told AFP.

A team of American attorneys for Polanski met with a deputy assistant attorney general and other Justice Department officials Oct. 2 and presented them with arguments against returning the director to the U.S. to face sentencing on a statutory rape charge, according to a letter included in an appellate court filing Wednesday.

Polanski, 76, was arrested Sept. 26. He fled the U.S. on the eve of his 1978 sentencing for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, a 13-year-old girl who told police he raped and sodomized her during a photo shoot.

-- Shelby Grad

Photo: Director Roman Polanski at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007. Credit: Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP/Getty Images