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Is Roman Polanski worth the fight?

September 28, 2009 |  9:38 am

Roman Polanski, Samantha Geimer, Steve Cooley, extradition, Zurich film festival

Los Angeles prosecutors are giving famed film director and convicted child molester Roman Polanski a chance to spend more of his millions on criminal defense lawyers. Swiss gendarmes served an arrest warrant on Polanski on Saturday at the request of the U.S. Justice Department, which in turn had been acting at the request of L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley. The warrant stems from Polanski's guilty plea to having unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 -- a downgrade from the initial allegation that he drugged and raped an aspiring 13-year-old model. That's a bit young, even for sophisticated European men of a certain age. Polanski fled before he could be sentenced in 1978, after Superior Court Judge Lawrence Rittenband refused at the last minute to go along with the plea deal, which did not call for Polanski to receive any more prison time than the 42 days he'd already spent there. Since then, he's been hiding in plain sight in France -- a country that refused to honor U.S. extradition requests -- and other countries in Europe. He will fight efforts to extradite him from Switzerland, his lawyer said today.

During Polanski's exile, his victim sued him, collected a settlement and publicly offered her forgiveness. Some folks think county prosecutors should do the same. What about you?

Photo: A show of support for director Roman Polanski at the Zurich Film Festival, where the director had gone to receive an award. His arrest canceled that appearance. Credit: Ennio Leanza / EPA

-- Jon Healey

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