PARIS (Reuters) - Roman Polanski’s lawyer accused U.S. courts Saturday of wanting to see the filmmaker “in shackles” after they rejected his bid to be sentenced in absentia for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Polanski skipped bail and fled the United States for France in 1978, and is now fighting extradition from Switzerland. Affirming the decision of a Los Angeles judge in January, a state appeals court ruled Thursday that the 76-year-old filmmaker must return to California before he can be sentenced.
“One gets the feeling that there’s the desire to see him arrive in shackles, when there’s no reason why Roman Polanski should be extradited, none at all,” lawyer Herve Temime told Europe 1 radio.
The court has also rejected a petition filed by Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, to have the case dismissed altogether.
Polanski, who directed “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” was charged in 1977 with raping Geimer in Hollywood after plying her with champagne and drugs. He later pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor.
He fled to his native France before sentencing, fearing the judge would impose more prison time than the 42 days he had already spent behind bars for a psychiatric evaluation.
“The time he spent in jail 32 years ago means he has served his sentence,” Temime said.
Polanski was arrested last year when he traveled to a film festival in Switzerland.
Reporting by Veronique Tison, editing by Mark Trevelyan