Court deal to end Polanski case?
Published 06/01/2010 | 17:33
Roman Polanski's long-running sex case could soon be settled in a court deal even as the fugitive film director remains under house arrest in Switzerland.
Lawyers will meet in Los Angeles to discuss legal moves that could resolve the marathon prosecution.
This time an appeal court has offered a legal opinion on how to bring the issue to a conclusion.
Polanski pleaded guilty to one count of sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 before fleeing the US.
The opinion criticised Polanski for leaving the country, but suggested two legal options that could lead to his freedom now. He could either be sentenced in his absence, or he could drop his extradition fight, return to the United States and be sentenced in person, probably without getting any extra time.
The court urged that the case be concluded now, calling it "one of the longest-running sagas in California criminal justice history."
Polanski, whose films include Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, was accused of plying Samantha Geimer, who was then 13, with champagne and a drug, then raping her during a modelling shoot at Jack Nicholson's house in 1977.
Polanski initially faced six charges, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy. He later pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse in a plea bargain.
The judge, who had promised no further jail time, changed his mind and was planning to sentence him more harshly.
Polanski has refused to return and is currently fighting extradition from Switzerland where he was arrested in September when he arrived for a film festival.