Polanski, sought by U.S., says will cooperate with Polish prosecutors

Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:57am EST
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WARSAW (Reuters) - Filmmaker Roman Polanski, who is in Poland to make a new film, has said he will cooperate with Polish authorities as part of a U.S. request for his extradition over a 1977 child sex crime conviction.

The Polish prosecutor-general's office said last week it planned to question Polanski, who was born to Polish parents but lives in France, after it received the request for his extradition.

"I am here mainly for preparations for a film I want to make this year," Polanski told TVN24 in an interview late on Monday.

"I know that an extradition request has come and of course I will undergo the procedure and we will see. I trust the Polish judiciary system. I hope everything will be all right."

Polanski, 81, is viewed by many Poles as one of their greatest living cultural figures. Internationally renowned for such films as "Chinatown" and "The Pianist", Polanski is now in Poland to make a film about the Dreyfus affair, a political scandal that shook France more than a century ago.

Last October, prosecutors in the Polish city of Krakow interviewed him in connection with a U.S. warrant over the 1977 conviction. They said there were no grounds to arrest him and that they would await a U.S. extradition request before deciding on any further steps.

The filmmaker pleaded guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sex with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer during a photoshoot in Los Angeles, fueled by champagne and drugs.

Polanski served 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day plea bargain. He fled the United States the following year, believing the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and put him in jail for years.

In 2009, Polanski was arrested in the Swiss city of Zurich on the U.S. warrant and placed under house arrest. He was freed in 2010 after Swiss authorities decided not to extradite him to the United States.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Adrian Krajewski and Gareth Jones)

Director Roman Polanski poses with his Best Director award for "La Venus A La Fourrure" (Venus in Fur) during a photocall at the 39th Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris February 28, 2014. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau