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Roman Polanski will be tried in France for defaming an actress who denounced him for sexual abuse

Archive image of the filmmaker Roman Polanski (EFE/EPA/JULIEN DE ROSA)

Roman Polanski faces a libel trial in paris for a complaint by the actress Charlotte Lewis against the filmmaker for questioning in the press the veracity of the sexual abuse of which Lewis accused him, he told the AFP on Wednesday a source close to the file.

Charlotte Lewis, born in 1967, had acted in the film pirates directed by Roman Polanski in 1986. In 2010 she claimed to have been sexually abused by the filmmaker in her Paris apartment in the early 1980s, when she was 16 years old.

The current defamation complaint concerns a lengthy Polanski interview with the magazine paris match published in 2019. In it, the director calls the actress a “liar” and “fabulator” relying on quotes attributed to her in an interview dating back to 1999 with the British tabloid News of the Worldwhere the actress allegedly expressed desire for him.

In her day, the actress already denied that the quotes that appeared in News of the World to which Polanski alludes to accuse her of being a liar.

File photo: Polanski in a video editing studio in Paris, France, in 1980 (Wojtek Laski/Getty Images)
File photo: Polanski in a video editing studio in Paris, France, in 1980 (Wojtek Laski/Getty Images)

Following Lewis’s defamation claim, a judicial decision of August 30 sends Polanski to the Paris correctional court89, never before tried in France for a file relating to these allegations of sexual abuse, without setting the date of the hearing for the time being.

In France, in the law related to the press, the referral of complaints to the courts is almost automatic and the veracity of charges is examined a posteriori in court. The director of paris match who published the interview back in the day will also be judged in this case.

Polanski’s lawyers, Hervé Temime and Delphine Meillet, declined to comment on the accusation and “reserve their explanations for the court.”

In recent years, the Franco-Polish filmmaker has been in the spotlight for several accusations of sexual abuse of minors, one of them only 10 years old.

Rape case in the US

On March 10, 1977, Polanski, then 43, invites 13-year-old Samantha Gailey (now Samantha Geimer) to participate in a fashion photo shoot at actor Jack Nicholson’s Hollywood home. The girl tells her mother that Polanski gave her alcohol and drugs and raped her. Polanski is arrested and tried on charges including rape and sodomy. He initially pleads not guilty, but under a plea deal, he admits to having illicit sex with a minor.

File photo: Samantha Geimer appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on June 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Paul Buck/Getty Images)
File photo: Samantha Geimer appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on June 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Paul Buck/Getty Images)

Sentenced to 90 days in prison, he is released after 42 days for good behavior, but the judge later changes his mind, saying he thinks the sentence is insufficient. Fearing a high sentence, Polanski flees the United States on the eve of the January 1978 hearing to approve the plea deal and settles in France, which rejects an extradition request.

In 1994, he agrees to pay Geimer $225,000 in damages to settle a civil case. But California rejects an appeal by both the filmmaker and his victim to drop the criminal charges.

In September 2009, he is arrested in the Swiss city of Zurich. He spends two months behind bars, followed by eight months of house arrest in his ski chalet in the Gstaad resort, while Swiss authorities consider an extradition request from the United States. They finally decide not to hand him over and Polanski is released. In 2014, he is interrogated by the Polish authorities, again at the request of the United States, but Polish authorities refuse to extradite him.

File photo: Feminist groups attend a protest against film director Roman Polanski near the Cesar Awards ceremony venue in Paris, France, on February 28, 2020 (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)
File photo: Feminist groups attend a protest against film director Roman Polanski near the Cesar Awards ceremony venue in Paris, France, on February 28, 2020 (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

other accusers

Between 2017 and 2019, four other women they come forward with allegations that Polanski molested them when they were minors.

In August, a woman identified as Robin M.claims at a press conference in Los Angeles that Polanski had sexually assaulted her in 1973, when she was 16 years old.

In September, the former German actress Renate Langer She denounces to the Swiss police that Polanski raped her at his home in Switzerland in 1972, when she was 15 years old. The Swiss prosecutor’s office rules out filing charges because the crime has prescribed.

And a month later, the Californian artist Marianne Barnard She accuses him of having sexually assaulted her in 1975 after asking her to pose nude when she was only 10 years old.

In November 2019, the French photographer Valentine Monnier She accuses Polanski of raping her in his Swiss chalet in 1975, when she was an 18-year-old actress, and says he tried to give her a pill while beating her “into submission.” Monnier did not file a complaint, but two women she trusted at the time confirmed her account to the newspaper. Le Parisien.

Polanski has denied all allegations.

With information from AFP

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