LA attorneys distance Polanski from French lawyer

Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:43pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

PARIS/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A French attorney for Roman Polanski who said the film director would not return voluntarily to the United States to face child sex charges is not authorized to speak in the case, Polanski's U.S. attorneys said on Friday.

Polanski, 76, is being held in a Swiss prison pending a decision on a U.S. extradition request. He fled the United States in 1978 while awaiting sentencing for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, and he was arrested in September in Switzerland on a U.S. warrant.

The director's French lawyer, Herve Temime, told Le Figaro newspaper in an interview published on Friday that Polanski would not return voluntarily to the United States. But Los Angeles attorneys Douglas Dalton, Bart Dalton and Chad Hummel said in a statement that Temime's comments were not authorized by Polanski.

"The French lawyers do not represent him in the case and do not speak for him about it," the statement said.

The statement said only the three Los Angeles lawyers, along with Dr. Lorenz Erni in Switzerland and Polanski himself "are authorized to speak on his behalf" about the case.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles lawyers declined to comment beyond the statement.

Temime has long been identified as representing Polanski in France, and he told Le Figaro in the interview that he believed the "Chinatown" director had already been punished for the original offense after undergoing psychiatric tests during a 42-day period in detention in California in 1978.

Temime said the fact the event took place more than 30 years ago should also weigh in any decision on extradition.

"We also maintain that Mr. Polanski did not face a fair trial in Los Angeles," he said. "For all these reasons, among others, his position remains unchanged: he will not accept being extradited to the United States."   Continued...

<p>Polish-born film director Roman Polanski awaits a public talk in Potsdam February 19, 2009. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke</p>