Roman Polanski Is ‘Trying to Dictate the Terms’ of His U.S. Return, DA Says

“He forfeited his right to make requests of the court when he fled,” district attorney’s court filing reads

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey filed blistering court papers on Thursday, denouncing Roman Polanski’s bid to avoid additional jail time if he returns to the U.S.

“The People oppose the defendant’s request for this court to represent what the defendant would be sentenced to if he returned,” Lacey wrote in the opposition, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. “Once again, defendant is requesting an advance preview of the hearing he would get if he did come to court before deciding whether or not to return to this jurisdiction.”

“The defendant is, once again, trying to dictate the terms of his return without risk to himself. His proposed order indicating that this court can reinstate the bench warrant after 180 days if he does not appear, is proof that his return is conditioned on getting the answers he wants,” the filing continues. “Defendant wants answers — but will only show up if he likes the answers. He forfeited his right to make requests of the court when he fled.”

In a response to the district attorney’s objection, Polanski’s lawyer, Harland W. Braun, wrote, “In a normal case, Mr. Polanski’s request would seem to be unnecessary boarding [sic] on insulting. Mr. Polanski is only asking the Court to pledge it will obey the law. “

Polanski,  was indicted in 1977 on five charges, including “rape by use of drugs” and “furnishing a controlled substance to a minor,” after having sex with 13-year-old girl who had been brought over to his house for a photo shoot, sent a request last month to allow him to avoid serving any additional jail time if he returns to the United States.

Polanski reached a deal, pleading guilty to the lesser charge of “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.” As a condition of the deal, he was required to serve 90 days in state prison while undergoing psychiatric evaluation. He was released after only 42 days, but soon after fled the United States when it emerged that the presiding judge was considering a stiffer penalty.

Polanski says the judge, Judge Laurence Rittenband, reneged on the plea deal and insisted he serve up to 50 years in jail after the agreement was signed. Rittenband, who died in 1993, consistently denied these accusations, though he did state that he felt Polanski’s sentence was too light.

Polanski’s lawyer Harland Braun sent a letter to Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking to unseal documents from 1977 detailing the agreement, which would prove Polanski has already served his sentence.

“First we have to unseal the secret transcript,” Braun told TheWrap. “After we confirm the contents, we will urge the court to recognize the Polish decision resulting from a litigation initiated by the DA and in which the DA participated. If the Court accepts the principle of comity, Roman can come to Los Angeles and to court without fear of custody.”

In December, Poland’s supreme court denied the United States’ request to extradite Polanski, upholding a lower court’s decision.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.