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Polanski appeals to Swiss court on bail

Associated Press / November 4, 2009

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GENEVA - Roman Polanski has re-appealed to the Swiss courts to be released from prison on bail, officials said yesterday, the latest step in the director’s protracted legal battle to avoid extradition to the United States.

The Swiss Criminal Court declined to comment on the contents of the appeal, but the Justice Ministry said it was an offer that the government has already turned down in part because it lacked a cash guarantee.

Meanwhile, California’s Second District Court of Appeal will hear arguments Dec. 10 on Polanski’s efforts to get his sexual assault case dismissed.

Polanski last year asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to dismiss the three-decade-old case, in which the director pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl at the home of Jack Nicholson. But the judge refused.

Yesterday, Folco Galli, the Swiss Justice Ministry spokesman, said it was an appeal of a release request that was rejected last week. Such re-appeals are common under Swiss law.

The 76-year-old filmmaker has suffered a string of setbacks since he was arrested Sept. 26 in Zurich as he arrived to receive a lifetime achievement award from a film festival. Authorities in Los Angeles want him extradited for having sex in 1977 with the 13-year-old.

Polanski is asking for the Swiss court to reverse the government’s decision to reject bail because of the high risk he would flee the country, Galli said.

“At this moment, we have no new bail offer,’’ Galli said.

Swiss legal experts say Polanski has little hope of being released in Switzerland, but that a bail offer without a cash guarantee would have no chance.