Zbigniew Ziobro, Poland’s prosecutor general and justice minister, revealed yesterday he is seeking to overturn a lower court decision that barred extradition of the Oscar-winning filmmaker.
Ziobro told reporters he would pursue the case with the nation’s highest court. If he prevails, he said he would seek Polanski’s arrest and send him back to the United States.
“If the appeal is upheld, I will give an approving decision,” he said.
Polanski, who is now 82, met with Samantha Geimer, an aspiring 13-year-old actress, in 1977 for a purported photo session at actor Jack Nicholson’s house. Nicholson was not home at the time.
He plied the Geimer with drinks, invited her into a hot tub and coerced her into having both anal and vaginal sex, according to reports.
He agreed to plead guilty to a lessor charge as part of a plea bargain arrangement. But he fled the country before his sentencing after he was told the judge might reject the agreement and impose a much stiffer sentence.
Since then, he’s spent mostly lived in France, which has refused to extradite him. He also has a house in the Polish city of Krakow and has visited there frequently.
When Polanski traveled to Warsaw in Poland two years ago, U.S. authorities requested his extradition. But a Polish court rebuffed the request last October. The prosecutor at the time declined to pursue the matter further.
Five years earlier, he was detained under house arrest in Switzerland, pending a U.S. extradition request. But Swiss authorities declined to send him back.
The Oscar-winning director suffered a reversal of fortunes in Poland after the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) Party won elections late last year.
Ziobro was appointed justice minister and chief prosecutor. He has been a critic of the lower court’s ruling, claiming Polanski has been protected by his celebrity status.
Polanski’s lawyer Jan Olszewski called Ziobro’s announcement a publicity ploy, according to Reuters News Agency. “Absolutely, the aim is to manipulate public opinion,” Olszewski said.
Polanski would be subject to immediate arrest if he re-entered the United States.
Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest celebrity crime news.