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Alan M. Dershowitz, the famed celebrity lawyer, and his team filed a motion in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday asking permission to represent director Roman Polanski in California, The New York Times is reporting.
Polanski, 81, is looking to end the statutory rape case against him, which led to him fleeing the U.S. in 1978 before final sentencing. The Times report says that the filing charged prosecutors with providing false information in support of a recent attempt to have Polanski extradited from Poland.
The filing also demands a hearing to close the case, based in part on fresh testimony that Judge Peter Espinoza, the Superior Court judge in 2009, acted unethically and prejudiced matters related to Polanski’s case and further concocted a secret plan to jail the director briefly.
The Polanski case goes back to 1977, when he was charged with raping a 13 year-old girl, later identified as Samantha Geimer. In a plea agreement, Polanski was imprisoned for psychiatric evaluation but fled before sentencing after he learned that the late Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, intended to impose additional jail time.
Since fleeing for Europe, Polanski and his legal team have argued that his rights had been violated and that he had served his full sentence, with California officials insisting he return so his case could be heard.
The case is back in the public eye after the director was at the opening of the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews in Warsaw in October. Polanski, who lives in France, was questioned by Polish authorities, but they declined to detain him despite a request from the U.S. to extradite him. That incident followed Polanski’s detention for more than nine months by Swiss authorities in 2010 after he attended the Zurich Film Festival.
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