This week, a 30-year-old drama unfolds in a Los Angeles courtroom, but the man in the starring role will not be present. Roman Polański, the acclaimed Polish director who has not stepped on American soil since his 1977 allegation of statutory rape, would risk being arrested if he were to return.
The trail stems from a December 2008 proposal by Polański’s lawyers to dismiss the original case, citing serious misconduct by the prosecutor and the court. As evidence, the lawyers presented a documentary film (Roman Polański: Wanted and Desired) which insinuates that the presiding judge (who passed away in 1993) went back on his offer of a mild sentence in return for a confession from the director.
However, the currently presiding judge, Peter Espinoza, stated that a vital condition for considering a dismissal of the case is the director’s presence at this week’s trial. Chad Hummel and Douglas Dalton, Mr. Polański’s attorneys, argued otherwise in a letter addressed to the court on Monday, stating that the director’s appearance “is neither necessary nor relevant” to the decision, as “the misconduct is plainly evident from the existing record.” The letter also argued that refusing to dismiss the case is against the wishes of Samantha Geimer, the now 45-year-old victim.
However, if Mr. Polański does not return to the U.S. by this Thursday, the 7th of May, the District Attorney’s office has said that it will not budge on the matter.