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A Polish court hearing the extradition case against Roman Polanski over a 1977 conviction for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl has given U.S. authorities more time to provide legal documents after they failed to meet a recent deadline.
Judge Waldemar Zurek in district court in the southern city of Krakow extended the deadline “by the time it may take for the document to be delivered by post” after an Aug. 8 deadline passed, Reuters reported.
The documents, relating to Polanski’s conviction in California in 1977, were requested by the court in May after Polanski’s lawyers argued the information was essential for the defense’s arguments. The court accepted the argument and adjourned the case until mid-September.
The case against Polanski, who fled the U.S fearing that a judge would not uphold a plea bargain deal after details were leaked to the press, has divided opinion in Poland, where the Oscar-winning director is revered by the filmmaking community.
Polanski wants to make a film in Krakow about the Dreyfuss Affair, a notorious miscarriage of justice in early 20th century France. A French citizen of Polish descent, Polanski had hoped to secure a deal with Polish authorities protecting him from court proceedings, but the U.S extradition request prevented that.
If the court does rule in favor of extradition, Polish law stipulates that a final decision will be made by the country’s justice minister.
The U.S delay in providing the requested legal documentation was criticized Thursday by the New York Daily News, which in an editorial urged U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to “get on the case.”
“A celebrity who over decades has paid almost no price for the crime of rape, statutory or otherwise, is still at large,” it said. “It’s time for Polanski’s closing credits.”
Polanski, who pleaded guilty in 1977 to having sex with the 13 year-old girl, served 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day plea bargain. He later fled the U.S fearing the deal could be overturned and his sentence extended by years.
He previously faced an extradition attempt in 2009 when he was arrested while in Zurich and put under house arrest. He was freed in 2010 after Swiss authorities decided not to extradite him. Polanski lives in Paris where his French citizenship protects him against extradition.
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