The U.S. has taken the first official steps to bring Roman Polanski back to face a judge.
The U.S. government has filed extradition papers with Switzerland, asking for the director to be handed over to authorities in California, Swiss officials said Friday.
In a Swiss jail since his arrest Sept. 26 at the Zurich airport, Polanski could serve up to two years in prison for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl.
Zurich authorities next must hold a hearing to decide whether to approve extradition, though they are under no time pressure to make that decision, Swiss Justice Department spokesman Folco Galli said.
Even if they decide to extradite, Polanski could appeal to the Swiss courts.
If returned to the U.S., he could serve up to two years in prison.
In Paris, Polanski’s lawyer, Herve Temine, said the director would fight extradition. "He will oppose this request and continue to ask to be released until the request is examined," Herve Temime said.
Earlier this week, Polanski’s bid to be released on bail was rejected. The court called the director a flight risk.