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US judge rejects Polanski's bid to end sex case with minor
A US judge on Monday rejected a motion by fugitive filmmaker Roman Polanski seeking assurances that he can return to the United States without fear of being jailed for having sex with a minor four decades ago.
The Oscar-winning director of The Pianist and Chinatown was accused of drugging the 13-year-old before raping her at film star Jack Nicholson's house in Los Angeles in 1977.
He admitted statutory rape after a number of more serious charges were dropped, and spent an initial 42 days in jail before getting out on bail ahead of his trial.
But in 1978, convinced a judge was going to scrap his plea deal and send him to prison for decades, he fled for France and has been on the run ever since.
His attorney Harland Braun told Los Angeles Superior Court the 83-year-old filmmaker, who lives in Paris, had "already done his time" and wanted to resolve the case with a finding that he has completed his sentence.
He asked Judge Scott Gordon to order prosecutors to give some indication of how much time -- if any -- they want Polanski to serve if he returns.
"The people have unambiguously stated their desire to avoid discussing any substantive issues regarding Polanski's case until he is physically present in the court's jurisdiction," Gordon wrote in a 13-page ruling.
"The district attorney is acting well within her discretion to decline to state a position to defendant absent from court and in warrant status."
The district attorney's office had objected to what they say amounted to an "advance preview" of Polanski's potential sentence.
"The people simply do not believe that it is in the best interests of justice to give a wealthy celebrity different treatment from any other fugitive from justice," Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee said.
Hanisee wrote in a filing to the court that Polanski "wants answers -- but will only show up if he likes the answers."
"He forfeited his right to make requests of the court when he fled," she added.
Polanski has been engaged in a decades-long cat-and-mouse game with US officials seeking his extradition for trial, before a global audience split between continuing outrage and forgiveness for his acts.
- with AFP