In what may portend a new role for Roman Polanski as a poster boy for domestic violence causes, California State Senator Gloria Romero (D-East L.A.) has sent a letter to District Attorney Steve Cooley supporting his efforts to extradite the director from Switzerland.
Romero linked the Polanski case to the state’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“Nothing better illustrates the importance of heightening public awareness about this issue,” Romero wrote Cooley, “than the recent headlines about the Roman Polanski case and we support your efforts of his extradition to the United States.”
Following some footnoted stats correlating domestic violence with sexual assaults, Romero acknowledged “how magnanimous his victim was by her forgiveness of his crime against her and, certainly, her words will carry weight in a court of law. But, nonetheless, closure is expected and needed.”
In other words, don’t let Polanski off with a party foul.
Romero’s letter was signed by 14 other legislators, mostly Democrats, including Assembly speaker Karen Bass (D-L.A.).
Teala Schaff, Romero’s press secretary, told TheWrap that the 120-member legislature’s being out of session limited the number of signatures that could be gathered in a timely way.
What is clear from the letter is the thorny position that Polanski’s magnanimous victim, Samantha Geimer, is putting the D.A. in. Only last week Geimer’s attorney again reiterated Geimer’s plea that Polanski not be extradited or punished – basing her request partly on the alleged judicial misconduct surrounding the original case three decades ago, as well as Geimer’s desire to escape the tabloid limelight to which she says she’s been subjected to since Polanski’s Sept. 26 arrest in Zurich.
Geimer has no legal say in Polanski’s extradition, or in how L.A.’s Superior Court deals with him if and when he is returned here.
“The law is the law,” is how Schaff describes Romero’s position. Nevertheless, Geimer’s impassioned request might carry plenty of weight should Polanski be resentenced, or if a new trial is considered – one that would rely on Geimer’s cooperation. Romero’s letter may be seen as strengthening the hand of the pro-prosecution forces on Temple Street.
Meanwhile, author Gore Vidal has created a bit of a stir with his Polanski-case comments on the Atlantic Monthly’s website. In a Q&A with John Meroney, Vidal described Geimer, circa 1977, as “a young hooker.”
Vidal claims that both the media and Hollywood spin on the case was much different back then.
“The idea,” Vidal says, “that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko – that’s what people were calling him – well, the story is totally different now from what it was then . . . Anti-Semitism got poor Polanski. He was also a foreigner. He did not subscribe to American values in the least. To [his persecutors], that seemed vicious and unnatural.”
The Atlantic’s Meroney did not ask Vidal his thoughts about Domestic Violence Awareness Month.