KRAKOW, Poland (Reuters) - Filmmaker Roman Polanski said on Thursday he did not expect Poland would comply with a request to extradite him to the United States over a 1977 child sex-crime conviction.
Polanski, who is preparing to shoot a film in Poland, was interviewed on Wednesday by Polish prosecutors responding to the U.S. extradition request.
They will refer the request to a court, which, if it wants to proceed further, will pass the request on to the Polish justice minister for a final decision. Many Poles view Polanski as one of their country’s greatest living cultural figures.
“If it goes as far as extradition, and I don’t expect it will go that far, I would have a problem, but I’m hoping it won’t come to that,” Polanski told a news conference at his lawyers’ office in the southern Polish city of Krakow.
He spent most of the news conference talking about the movie he is preparing to shoot in Poland, about the Dreyfus affair, a political scandal that shook France more than a century ago.
Polanski, 81, was born to Polish parents but lives in France. He is internationally renowned for such films as “Chinatown” and “The Pianist”.
The filmmaker pleaded guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sex with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer during a photoshoot in Los Angeles, fuelled 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 might 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.
Additional reporting by Adrian Krajewski in Warsaw; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Larry King