Roman Polanski appeared at a hearing in a Polish court today to be deposed following a formal extradition request filed by the U.S. in January. Media was not allowed inside the Krakow tribunal, but AFP reports the judge, Dariusz Mazur, said a decision on the extradition was “unlikely” to come today. Another hearing has been scheduled for April.
Convicted on five charges stemming from having sex with a minor in 1977, the then-43-year-old Polanski cut a plea deal and served 42 days in prison, but fled the States on the eve of sentencing when it appeared the judge in the case had moved the legal goalposts on him. He has been considered a fugitive from American justice ever since.
The current extradition request was extended less than three weeks after an LA Superior Court judge rejected a motion filed by defense attorney Alan Dershowitz to close the book on Polanski’s statutory rape conviction. It is the latest in a series of attempts to bring the Oscar winner back to America. In 2009, he was placed under house arrest in Switzerland while a similar extradition request was examined. He was ultimately released.
Mazur, per AFP, said that attorneys for Polanski had petitioned the court to consider evidence from that same 2009 case. Should the extradition request get a yea from the Krakow court, the ultimate decision will then rest with the justice ministry. According to the BBC, the 81-year-old Polanski has said he does not expect to be extradited. Sentiment in Poland is that authorities will be reluctant to approve the request.
The director of Chinatown and The Pianist was last questioned by Polish authorities on the 1977 rape in October, but at the time said they saw no reason to arrest him.
Polanski has dual citizenship in Poland and France. He has been in Krakow preparing to shoot a new film about the Dreyfuss Affair.