Roman Polanski may have the support of celebrities like Adrien Brody, but the U.S. legal system isn't letting him off so easily.
The director was struck a significant legal blow by the Los Angeles Supreme Court on Monday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Polanski, whose films include Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist, and The Ninth Gate, had been seeking assurances that he would not have to serve additional jail time for raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977 if he returned to the U.S. Judge Scott Gordon has now declined the 83-year-old's request to learn his legal fate before coming to the U.S. for a formal hearing.
It's been about 40 years since the Paris-born, Poland-raised filmmaker last stepped foot in the U.S. In 1977 he pleaded guilty to having "unlawful sexual intercourse" with the girl, whom he met at friend and Chinatown costar Jack Nicholson's home. He served 42 days in prison, but later fled to Paris after hearing that the judge in his case planned to reject a plea deal in favour of a stiff prison sentence. In 2009 he was arrested in Switzerland at the request of U.S. authorities, but was released months later after the Swiss declined to take part in an extradition process. The Polish Supreme Court has similarly declined to turn him over to U.S. authorities.
Polanski, who recently resigned as president of the César Awards in France following protests related to his sex crime, is now looking to return to the U.S., but only if the L.A. County District Attorney's Office guarantees that he won't be punished for his crimes. Judge Gordon isn't taking the bait.
"The People have unambiguously stated their desire to avoid discussing any substantive issues regarding Polanski's case until he is physically present in the court's jurisdiction," he wrote in a 13-page court order obtained by THR. "The District Attorney is acting well within her discretion to decline to state a position to a defendant absent from court and in warrant status. ... Additionally, Polanski is not entitled to avail himself of this court's power to hear his demands while he openly stands in contempt of a legal order from this very court."
The BBC reports that another hearing, in which Polanski's lawyers will seek to have testimony from his original trial unsealed, is scheduled for later this month.
Until then, we can take comfort in the fact that Polanski isn't able to worm his way out of his legal woes simply because he's a celebrity. Polanski is not only an admitted rapist; he's also a fugitive from the law. He's had 40 years to do his time, and the fact that he's seeking special treatment is laughable — regardless of his contribution to film or what Adrien Brody or Johnny Depp think.