Here’s the latest on Roman Polanski’s arrest, for the rape of Samantha Geimer:
In a surprising move arranged by prosecutors in Los Angeles and Washington, the authorities in Switzerland arrested the film director Roman Polanski late Saturday as he arrived at the Zurich airport, paving the way for his possible extradition to the United States in connection with a 32-year-old sex case. Mr. Polanski, 76, a French citizen, was detained as he arrived to receive an award at the Zurich Film Festival. Although he is expected to oppose extradition, the arrest raised a strong possibility that Mr. Polanski would be returned to the United States to face sentencing under his conviction for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. The arrest came as a shock to Mr. Polanski and those who have worked closely with him both on movies and in a continuing attempt to lift the outstanding arrest warrant against him. He had just finished shooting a film in Germany and often travels to Switzerland, where he maintains a home. – from NYTimes
Here are some of the facts: Polanski’s crime — statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl — was committed in 1977. The girl, now 45, has said more than once that she forgives him, that she can live with the memory, that she does not want him to be put back in court or in jail, and that a new trial will hurt her husband and children. There is evidence of judicial misconduct in the original trial. There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age. Polanski, who panicked and fled the U.S. during that trial, has been pursued by this case for 30 years, during which time he has never returned to America, has never returned to the United Kingdom., has avoided many other countries, and has never been convicted of anything else. He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers’ fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film. He can be blamed, it is true, for his original, panicky decision to flee. But for this decision I see mitigating circumstances, not least an understandable fear of irrational punishment. Polanski’s mother died in Auschwitz. His father survived Mauthausen. He himself survived the Krakow ghetto, and later emigrated from communist Poland. His pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered in 1969 by the followers of Charles Manson, though for a time Polanski himself was a suspect. – from WashPost
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.