Daily Archives: July 12, 2010

That was then.

This is now.

Surely the facts will be in perpetual dispute.

“LOS ANGELES – The district attorney prosecuting Roman Polanski in Los Angeles is blasting the Swiss government’s refusal to extradite the director.
District Attorney Steve Cooley says he is “deeply disappointed” in the decision and will work with U.S. officials to try to extradite Polanski if he is arrested again.”

Alas, Steve doesn’t get to be Neil Patrick Harris.

An arrest warrant on a 33-year-old sex case remains active in Los Angeles. Polanski fled the United States on the eve of sentencing in 1978 after pleading guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.
Cooley also says the Swiss decision is a “disservice to justice and other victims as a whole.”

The “other victims” being Cooley and his supporters. For getting Roman Polanski because “Hedruggedandsodomizedherwhileshepleadedforhimtostop!” (always one word)
was seen as the Royal Road to Cooley’s election as California State Attorney General.

Now he’ll have to go out and find another “moral issue,” poor bunny. Of course Cooley is quite selective on this score. He refused to prosecute one of the most visicious gay-bashing West Hollywood has ever seen as a Hate Crime.

“He said the department complied with every request made by Swiss and U.S. authorities as part of the extradition process.”

But the Swiss weren’t buying.

“GSTAAD, Switzerland (AP) — In a stunning ruling, Roman Polanski was declared a free man on Monday — no longer confined to house arrest in his Alpine villa after Swiss authorities rejected a U.S. request for his extradition because of a 32-year-old sex conviction.
The decision left the Oscar-winning director free to return to France and the life of a celebrity, albeit one unable to visit the United States.”

And why on earth should he want to return to this cultural hell-hole? To direct Despicable Me II ?

“Hours after the ruling was announced, Polanski’s assistant said he had left his multi-million dollar chalet with his family. Half-empty glasses seen on a back porch testified to a hasty exit.
“Mr. Polanski can now move freely,” Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf declared. “He’s a free man.”

After being shut up for nearly a year like a postmodern Anne Frank, wouldn’t you spring like hell for the door?

Switzerland, which arrested the 76-year-old Polanski last September as he arrived receive a lifetime achievement award at a Zurich film festival, blamed U.S. authorities for its decision, citing a possible “fault in the U.S. extradition request.”

More like a fault in Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office overreaching.

“The United States failed to provide confidential testimony to refute defense arguments the filmmaker had actually served his sentence before fleeing Los Angeles three decades ago, Widmer-Schlumpf said.
The Swiss decision could end the United States’ long pursuit of Polanski, who has been a fugitive since fleeing sentencing for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl.
Beyond the legal issue, the extradition request was complicated and diplomatically sensitive because of Polanski’s status as a cultural icon in France and Poland, where he holds dual citizenship, and his history as a Holocaust survivor whose first wife Sharon Tate was murdered in 1969 by followers of cult leader Charles Manson in California.
France, where the filmmaker has spent much of his time, does not extradite its own citizens and Polanski has had little trouble traveling throughout Europe — although he has stayed away from Britain.”

Easy to see why. Bad memories.

“The U.S. cannot appeal the decision, but Polanski is still a fugitive in the United States.
“That warrant remains outstanding,” Los Angeles Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said, adding that Polanski could be arrested and sent to the U.S. if he traveled to another country that has an extradition treaty with the United States.
In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the Obama administration was disappointed by the Swiss action. “The United States believes that the rape of a 13-year-old child by an adult is a crime, and we continue to pursue justice in this case,” Crowley said.”

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

A top Justice Department official said the U.S. extradition request was completely supported by treaty, facts and the law. The department is “deeply disappointed” by the Swiss rejection and will review its options, said Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s criminal division.
The decision drew cheers and jeers on both sides of the Atlantic.
“The great Franco-Polish director can now freely rediscover his loved ones and devote himself fully to the pursuit of his artistic activities,” said French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
His Polish counterpart Radek Sikorski expressed satisfaction with the Swiss decision, saying that “a solution was found that respects the complex legal considerations and personal circumstances of the case of Mr. Polanski.”

Well they sure took a lot of time and care in finding it.

At Polanski’s multi-million dollar Alpine chalet the shutters were open but there was no sign of movement inside hours after the Swiss decision was announced.
A woman who answered the intercom and identified herself only as “Mr. Polanski’s assistant” said the director had left with his wife and two young children, Morgane and Elvis. She declined to say where Polanski had gone or whether he would return.
Glasses stood half-empty glasses on the porch, where neighbors say Polanski was having a meal around noon.
Asked whether Polanski had left the home after being freed Monday from the electronic tags that monitored his movements during his house arrest on $4.5 million bail, a police spokeswoman, Ursula Stauffer, said: “Mr. Polanski is a free man. It’s not the job of the police to keep track of his movements.”

Indeed. That’s the job of The Media.

“Widmer-Schlumpf, the Swiss justice minister, said the decision was not meant to excuse Polanski’s crime, adding the issue was “not about deciding whether he is guilty or not guilty.”
The government said extradition had to be rejected “considering the persisting doubts concerning the presentation of the facts of the case.”
In justifying the decision, Switzerland also invoked what it called the “public order” — a lofty notion meaning that governments should ensure their citizens are safe from arbitrary abuse of the law.”

Love the “lofty,” don’t you?

“The Justice Ministry cited the fact that U.S. authorities hadn’t pursued Polanski in Switzerland previously, even though he’s often visited the country and bought a house here in 2006. It also stressed that the victim, Samantha Geimer, who long ago publicly identified herself, has joined in Polanski’s bid for dismissal. “

There was a rather good movie made about this.

“The acclaimed director of “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “The Pianist” was accused of plying his victim with champagne and part of a Quaalude during a 1977 modeling shoot and raping her. He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy, but pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.”

Or as our famously “Free Press” loves to bleat —

“Hedruggedandsodomizedherwhileshepleadedforhimtostop!”

“In exchange, the judge agreed to drop the remaining charges and sentence him to prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. However, he was released after 42 days by an evaluator who deemed him mentally sound and unlikely to offend again.
The judge responded by saying he was going to send Polanski back to jail for the remainder of the 90 days and that afterward he would ask Polanski to agree to a “voluntary deportation.” Polanski then fled the country on the eve of his Feb. 1, 1978, sentencing. “

“”Polanski got away with a lot, but it’s not all black and white,” said Loyola Law School professor Stan Goldman. “I don’t see the D.A. rushing to investigate the very palpable evidence of misconduct in the original case. And the victim said they were hurting her every time they brought this up. So there are many shades of gray.”
University of Southern California Law School professor Jean Rosenbluth said that while extradition requests are overwhelmingly approved, the Polanski case presented several difficult issues.
The Swiss had wide latitude to make a decision, and there were a variety of competing interests, said Rosenbluth, a former federal prosecutor who has handled extradition cases.
“In my opinion they wanted to release him and looked for some grounds to support the release,” defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. said. “It’s a clear affront to the United States and the Los Angeles County District Attorney.”

More the latter than the former, I feel. Gore Vidal, interviewed by John Meroney, sees it a tad differently than I do.

In September, director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for leaving the U.S. in 1978 before being sentenced to prison for raping a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house in Hollywood. During the time of the original incident, you were working in the industry, and you and Polanski had a common friend in theater critic and producer Kenneth Tynan. So what’s your take on Polanski, this many years later?

I really don’t give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?

I’ve certainly never heard that take on the story before.

First, I was in the middle of all that. Back then, we all were. Everybody knew everybody else. There was a totally different story at the time that doesn’t resemble anything that we’re now being told.

What do you mean?

The media can’t get anything straight. Plus, there’s usually an anti-Semitic and anti-fag thing going on with the press – lots of crazy things. The idea that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko – that’s what people were calling him – well, the story is totally different now from what it was then.

Hollywood once provided protection for some of its people. For example, Rock Hudson was heterosexual to the public until 1985, when he announced he had AIDS.

Studios protect big moneymakers. The movies with Rock Hudson and Doris Day were profitable. Each star was given the Sheriff’s telephone number to say, “Lay off.” The Sheriff wasn’t going to go fucking around with the talent. They were the income of Hollywood.

During the 1970s, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, and producer Robert Evans were celebrated for lifestyles of sexual extravagance.

Well, they’re all virgins, every last one of them. I can testify to that. And the last one you mentioned, he’s a super virgin.

They’ve certainly never been criticized and condemned for their sexual excesses. But Polanski was condemned even before he pled guilty to raping a girl.

Well, believe it or not, anti-Semitism is very strong out here, even though this is a Jewish business. L.B. Mayer was the worst anti-Semite of all.

But he was Jewish.

Well, Mayer’s view was, “The public will turn on all of us if they know that one of us has done anything.”

You think anti-Semitism is motivating the prosecution of Polanski?

Anti-Semitism got poor Polanski. He was also a foreigner. He did not subscribe to American values in the least. To [his persecutors], that seemed vicious and unnatural.

What are “American values”?

Lying and cheating. There’s nothing better.

Indeed.

As for those “Half-empty glasses seen on a back porch” it’s Les Miz time once again.