Polanski's lawyer says director's family suffering

AP News
Posted: Nov 19, 2009 5:24 PM

The wife and two children of Roman Polanski are bearing the brunt of the director's imprisonment in Switzerland as he awaits a decision on his extradition, his lawyer said in an interview to be published Friday.

Polanski has proposed "very significant" bail money, house arrest and other assurances to find freedom, Herve Temime told the daily Le Figaro. His 76-year-old client "will not accept extradition to the United States," he said.

U.S. authorities want Polanski to face justice in Los Angeles for having sex with a 13-year-old 32 years ago. A Swiss court official said this week that a bail decision was expected in 2 to 3 weeks.

Polanski, who was arrested Sept. 26 as he arrived in Zurich to collect a film award, is "very courageous" and "I have never heard him complain," Temime said.

However, his wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, an actress and singer, and his two children are "very upset psychologically by this separation that is a true heartbreak" for them, he said.

The Polish-French director has offered a second time to remain under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad with electronic bracelet in an attempt to overturn a Swiss Justice Ministry decision to deny him bail.

"At the demand of Swiss authorities, he is prepared to offer a very significant sum of money for his financial means to back his solemn commitment" not to leave Switzerland, Temime said without naming an amount.

Temime maintained that Polanski had completed his sentence at the time, with 42 days in jail for psychological testing after being accused of raping the girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a 1977 modeling shoot.

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The director of classics like "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown" was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy.

Polanski pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. In exchange, the judge agreed to drop the remaining charges and sentence him to prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. He was released Polanski after 42 days. But when the judge said he was going to send him back to serve out the 90 days, Polanski fled the country on Feb. 1, 1978, the day he was to be sentenced.

Polanski's lawyer said his client did not get a proper trial.