Court convicts 3 for blackmailing Polish senator

AP News
Posted: Aug 30, 2011 5:11 PM
Court convicts 3 for blackmailing Polish senator

A Polish court on Tuesday convicted three people of blackmailing Krzysztof Piesiewicz, a senator and screenwriter known internationally for collaborating on the award-winning "Three Colors" movie trilogy.

The district court of Warsaw also sentenced the two women and a man to 18 months in prison. The verdict is not final, however, and the defendants said they would appeal, the news agency PAP reported.

The verdicts in the closed-door trial came after a tabloid released video in 2009 of Piesiewicz wearing a dress and appearing to take cocaine with prostitutes. Piesiewicz has said he was not using cocaine but another powdered medication.

He has said he paid the women twice to keep the meetings secret but went to police when they demanded money a third time. Police have said he fell victim to an extortion ring.

Piesiewicz had been planning to run for re-election to the Senate, but despite the verdict in his favor announced late Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the race.

On the radio station TOK RM he said that criminals were continuing to post material in the "electronic media" about him and that he was therefore withdrawing his candidacy to the Senate. He did not explain further.

Many Poles perceive Piesiewicz as a victim in the case, though there is a perception that he was exceptionally naive for allowing himself to fall into a trap set by the blackmailers.

Piesiewicz collaborated with the late director Krzysztof Kieslowski on the films "The Double Life of Veronique" and the "Three Colors (Blue, White and Red)" trilogy.