Polanski opens up about 1977 sex crime case

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Polanski opens up about 1977 sex crime case

LOS ANGELES - Director Roman Polanski, in a rare interview published on Thursday, shares his frustrations and feelings about being the object of hatred due to a complicated legal case stemming from a sex crime in 1977.

Polanski, 80, the Polish-French director of films such as “Rosemary’s Baby” and 2002’s Oscar-winning “The Pianist,” pleaded guilty in 1977 to having sex with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer during a photo shoot, fueled by champagne and drugs.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Polanski said he felt more persecuted after he was arrested in 2009 in Switzerland at the request of the United States than he did when he was convicted of the crime.

“I didn’t have that at all then. This was much more like the assassination of Sharon and what happened afterwards,” the director said, referring to rumors that he was involved in the 1969 murder of his wife, actress Sharon Tate, and her friends, who were killed by the Manson family gang.

The interview comes ahead of a Showtime documentary, “Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out,” by Marina Zenovich, to be aired on U.S. television this month. Zenovich also cowrote and directed the 2008 documentary “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” which explored the impact of the sex crime case and was used by lawyers to reopen it after 30 years.

Polanski served 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day plea bargain in 1977, but fled the United States in 1978 after believing the judge hearing his case could jail him for up to 50 years.

“It was such a shock to learn that it’s not finished, after they let you out of prison. Free! With your bundle under your arm, with the lawyer waiting for you outside, standing there, in your mind it’s all over, it’s finished. And then the judge changed his mind. And I have to go back to prison, and nobody knows how long. I just could not go through that,” Polanski said.

Polanski was arrested in 2009 en route to the Zurich Film Festival and spent two months in a Swiss jail. He was then placed under house arrest at his chalet in the upmarket Swiss ski resort of Gstaad. In July 2010, Swiss authorities said they would not extradite him to the United States. Reuters
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