Victim in Polanski case supports absentia bid


-File photo

The victim in Roman Polanski’s 1978 child-sex case expressed support Thursday for the fugitive filmmaker’s request to be sentenced in absentia, court filings revealed.
An attorney for Samantha Geimer, who was 13 when Polanski allegedly plied her with drugs and alcohol before having unlawful sex with her in 1977, also urged prosecutors to withdraw a request for the director’s extradition. Polanski, 76, was arrested in September in Switzerland, where he is under house arrest pending extradition to the United States.
Yet Geimer’s attorney Lawrence Silver said in court filings that prosecutors had failed to notify his client before seeking Polanski’s extradition, which he said “violated” California’s constitution.
Geimer also asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza to dismiss the case “on the basis of judicial and prosecutorial corruption” or to sentence Polanski “in absentia.”
Prosecutors rejected Silver’s claims, however, saying they had “consistently and continuously reached out to the victim through her attorney” and that invitations to discuss the case had “never been accepted.”
Espinoza was scheduled to rule Friday on a request by Polanski’s lawyers to be sentenced in absentia.
Polanski allegedly gave Geimer champagne and a prescription drug during a 1977 photo shoot before having sex with her despite her protests.
The director was initially charged with six felony counts, including rape and sodomy. The charge was later reduced to unlawful sexual intercourse after a plea deal agreed in part to spare his victim the ordeal of a trial.
Polanski later served 42 days at a secure unit undergoing psychiatric evaluation but fled the United States on the eve of his sentencing hearing amid fears that the trial judge planned to go back on a previously agreed plea deal.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2010