Support for Polanski Strengthens … as Does the Backlash

“Support sends a message that the rich and powerful can get away with crimes that no one else can.”

Support in the entertainment industry continued to build on Tuesday — but a backlash was felt as well as critics pointed to his original crime of raping a 13-year-old.

Veteran indie film producer Harvey Weinstein used an open letter to urge "every U.S. filmmaker to lobby against any move to bring Polanski back to the U.S. … A deal was made with the judge, and the deal is not being
honored."

Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese joined Weinstein in signing the global filmmakers’ petition to free Polanski.

And the director of the documentary "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," Marina Zenovich, has headed to Switzerland to continue shooting footage of the controversial legal saga surrounding the Oscar-winning director who was the subject of her movie. (Read the report from Sharon Waxman.)

Meanwhile, in Poland, the prime minister asked his Cabinet members to subdue their angry calls for the release of Polanski. He noted that the case involved "punishment for having sex with a child.” In France, which has actively worked against the Polanski extradition, dissent was heard in the National Assembly as a key legislator in the ruling center-right party criticized the nation's immediate support for the fugitive director.

In the U.S., Katie Buckland, executive director of the California Women's Law Center, told the L.A. Times that supporting the director's release "sends a message that the rich and powerful can get away with crimes that no one else can get away with."

Polanski's lawyers have asked that the director be released from Swiss custody, filing a motion Tuesday in an effort to stop his extradition to the U.S. over charges stemming from a 1977 statutory rape case.

"The decision will be made within the next weeks," the Swiss Federal Criminal Court said after announcing the filing. As such, 76-year-old Polanski will remain imprisoned through the verdict and any appeals, which could easily add up to months.

The Federal Court will decide if it believes the U.S. request for Polanski's capture is legal, Swiss Justice Ministry spokesman Guido Balmer said..

Both the Justice Ministry and Polanski could later appeal decisions at the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland's highest court.

The motion filed by Polanski's legal team also included proposals for bail and "guarantees," according to his French lawyer Herve Temime. House arrest at the directors’ Swiss chalet in Gstaad could be an option, he added.

"Our first concern, and principle concern, is that Mr. Polanski be set free" from jail while "remaining on Swiss territory," Temime told reporters at the Justice Palace in Paris. "He has a chalet in Switzerland. He would naturally accept to be placed under house arrest during the follow-up of the extradition proceedings."

In Washington a spokesman for the French embassy declined to confirm reports that the French government sent a letter to the U.S. government over the extradition issue, but noted Polanski's French citizenship and its desire to have its citizen fully represented.

"It is important to have the Swiss and American justice systems do their work," he said. "We are asking for his rights to be fully respected in a fair way."