Roman Polanski. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Roman Polanski. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski — who has lived overseas for decades to avoid prosecution in the alleged rape of a 13- year-old girl — will not attend a March 20 hearing on the matter, his defense attorney said Monday.

“We want him to come back,” attorney Harland Braun told City News Service, but Polanski will remain overseas for now “because he’s been lied to so many times,”

Braun accused prosecutors of wanting the director to “cool his heels” in a local jail while awaiting any resolution.

“We’re suspicious,” he said.

The defense attorney filed a motion earlier this month asking Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon to unseal a transcript in the case. Braun believes the 2010 deposition of a prosecutor confirms a plea deal negotiated in 1978 calling for Polanski to be sentenced to time already served behind bars.

Braun plans to file another motion in the coming weeks, asking Gordon to rule on whether Polanski has in fact served his time.

“It comes down to one simple question,” Braun said. “He was promised 42 days and he’s done over 300 days.”

That total includes time Polanski spent in prison in Chino and also in jail and under house arrest in 2009 in Switzerland as Swiss authorities considered an extradition request.

Southern California authorities have fought for years to bring Polanski back to America, pursuing legal action in France, Switzerland and Poland.

The director was arrested in 1977 on charges including rape, a crime alleged to have happened at the home of actor Jack Nicholson.

Polanski struck a deal to plead guilty to statutory rape but fled the country before he could be sentenced when the judge in the case threatened to throw out the plea deal and order a sentence of 50 years.

“(Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laurence J.) Rittenband broke his promise,” Braun said.

No current deal is on the table from prosecutors, the defense attorney said, adding that he believes it’s up to the judge.

“The judicial system made the promise,” said Braun, who aims to “have a court decide … (whether) our word is worth something.”

Deputy District Attorney Michelle Hanisee and the District Attorney’s Office media relations team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Polanski, 83, lives in France, which forbids extradition of its citizens.

Though free to live openly in Paris, Polanski has been unable to travel to London, where his daughter reportedly lives, or to visit the Culver City grave of his murdered wife, Sharon Tate, and the couple’s unborn son.

When Polanski traveled to Poland in 2014, he kicked off another series of legal actions.

Though Los Angeles County prosecutors once again sought to have the director extradited, a Krakow judge ruled that turning over Polanski would be an illegal deprivation of liberty because the state of California was unlikely to conduct a fair trial and provide humane detention conditions.

That ruling was appealed and the outcome was ultimately affirmed by the Polish Supreme Court in December.

Braun maintains the proceedings in Poland also made clear that his client has served more than the time promised to prosecutors.

Polanski’s custody in Switzerland counts as time served under California law under the legal principle of comity, Braun said, adding that Hanisee admitted as much to the Polish court.

— City News Service

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