Ever since his surprise arrest on Saturday, Roman Polanski has been the focal point of heated international debate regarding the 30-year-old charges he faces for having sex with an underage girl. Earlier today, lawyers for the embattled filmmaker filed paperwork asking that he be released from Swiss custody, the first legal step in his contentious battle to avoid extradition to the United States. The Swiss federal court is planning on taking its sweet time to review the request, announcing that its “decision will be made within the next weeks.” In the meantime, though, Polanski remains incarcerated in Switzerland, where he will remain throughout both the case and the appeals process. We’ve got more updates for you below.
• Samantha Geimer, the victim, is asking that the case against Polanski be dismissed. Geimer is 45 years old now, but she was only 13 when Polanski was arrested and convicted of raping her at a party at Jack Nicholson’s house. Even if the case does end up going to trial, Geimer cannot be forced to testify. [Crimesider/CBS News]
• Although the AP mistakenly published internal notes that suggested Polanski was arrested by the Swiss government as a means of making up for the recent UBS scandal, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Polanski’s “boastful” lawyers angered the Los Angeles prosecutors with their recent filings in California court, suggesting that the “district attorney’s office wasn’t really trying to hunt him down.” However, the D.A.’s office suggests that’s not the case and that they have been trying to get him for over 30 years, including one failed attempt in Israel as recently as 2007. [NYDN]
• Did Polanski have advance knowledge that the Los Angeles County district attorney was after him? This aside in today’s New York Times article caught our eye: “When in Germany directing his latest film, The Ghost, Mr. Polanski occasionally avoided the set, directing through a remote communications setup and leading some members of the cast and crew to believe that he was trying to make apprehension more difficult.” [NYT]
• Debra Winger, who was a jury member at the Zurich Film Festival, where Polanski was to be honored, criticized Swiss officials for the “philistine collusion” that resulted in Polanski’s arrest there on Sunday. “This fledgling festival has been unfairly exploited, and whenever this happens, the whole art world suffers. We hope today this latest (arrest) order will be dropped. It is based on a three-decades-old case that is dead but for minor technicalities. We stand by him and await his release and his next masterpiece.” [Awards Daily]
• While we’re on the topic of famous people coming out in full support of Polanski, it’s worth noting that almost 70 film luminaries — including David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann and Woody Allen (!) — have signed a petition demanding the immediate release of Polanski. [Guardian via Gawker]
• The Telegraph’s Michael Deacon dug up an explosive interview that Polanski gave to the novelist Martin Amis in 1979, one that includes the following quote: “If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But … fucking, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!” [Telegraph UK]