LA County DA blasts Swiss ruling that set Roman Polanski free; case will continueBy AP
Monday, July 12, 2010
LA DA blasts Swiss decision on Polanski
LOS ANGELES — The district attorney prosecuting Roman Polanski in Los Angeles blasted the Swiss government’s refusal on Monday to extradite the Oscar-winning director.
District Attorney Steve Cooley said he is “deeply disappointed” in the decision and will work with U.S. officials to try to extradite Polanski if he is arrested again. Cooley also accused the Swiss of manufacturing an excuse to set Polanski free.
The Swiss government had cited the U.S. government’s unwillingness to turn over secret testimony offered by a former prosecutor earlier this year as one of the reasons Polanski could not be extradited.
The testimony was taken in the event the aging prosecutor was not available for a later hearing in the case and remains sealed.
“To justify their finding to deny extradition on an issue that is unique to California law regarding conditional examination of a potentially unavailable witness is a rejection of the competency of the California courts,” Cooley said.
“The Swiss could not have found a smaller hook on which to hang their hat.”
An arrest warrant on a 33-year-old sex case remains active in Los Angeles. Polanski fled the United States on the eve of sentencing in 1978 after pleading guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.
Cooley also says the Swiss decision is a “disservice to justice and other victims as a whole.”
He said the department complied with every request made by Swiss and U.S. authorities as part of the extradition process.
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