A freed Polanski attends wife’s jazz concert

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A freed Polanski attends wife’s jazz concert

SWITZERLAND - Film director Roman Polanski, freed earlier this week from house arrest in Switzerland, attended a Saturday night concert given by his wife at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

The 76-year-old Polanski arrived with festival founder Claude Nobs for the performance by French actress and singer Emmanuelle Seigner on the closing night of the annual event on Lake Geneva, according to a Reuters witness.

Polanski was mobbed by photographers as he arrived with heavy security, but did not speak or appear on the stage during his wife’s 55-minute set, which he watched from a VIP box.

Montreux is an hour’s drive from the village of Gstaad where Polanski was kept under house arrest at his chalet from December until last Monday, when Swiss authorities announced they would not extradite him to the United States to face sentencing for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

Polanski was arrested last Sept. 26 in Zurich, where he had been invited to receive an achievement award at a Swiss film festival, on the basis of a U.S. extradition request.

Before attending Saturday’s show, Polanski thanked the people of Gstaad in his first television interview since being released.

“I’m not sure what I will do hereafter,” he told Swiss station TSR. “For the moment I’m happy to be free.”

Seigner, wearing a black hat, black jeans and boots, began her performance with the theme song from Polanski’s 1968 film “Rosemary’s Baby.” She also sang “Sing Sing,” “Femme Fatale” and “Le Fantome,” mixing English and French language numbers, many from “Dingue,” her second album released this year.

Polanski is a friend of Nobs, who founded the lakeside festival 44 years ago. Earlier on Saturday, Polanski was photographed by the Lausanne daily “24 Heures” arriving at Nobs’ chalet.

Polanski, who has dual French and Polish nationality, pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex in Los Angeles with a minor. He fled before sentencing, saying he believed the judge would renege on a plea agreement under which the 42 days he had spent in detention for psychiatric assessment would constitute his full sentence.

Swiss officials turned down the U.S. extradition request, citing potential technical faults and saying it failed to clarify whether the director had in fact served his sentence more than 30 years ago.


Reuters
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