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Polanski gets emergency stay in sex case

Jan. 22, 2009 at 9:20 PM   |   Comments

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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A three-judge panel in California's Court of Appeals' 2nd District granted an emergency stay in Roman Polanski's sex abuse case, The Los Angeles Times said.

Polanski pleaded guilty in 1978 to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, but fled the United States before he could be sentenced. He has never returned to the country and a warrant is still in effect for his arrest.

Lawyers for the French-born film director, who is now 75, recently asked a Los Angeles court to dismiss the case based on purported new evidence featured in the HBO documentary, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired." Polanski's lawyers say the film shows "repeated, unlawful and unethical misconduct" by the Los Angeles district attorney's office and the late judge who initially oversaw Polanski's case.

Polanski's attorneys have claimed that neither Judge Peter Espinoza, the current supervising judge of the court's criminal division, nor any other Los Angeles County judge would fairly consider Polanski's request to have the case dismissed, even though his victim has also asked that the case be dropped since she is tired of the publicity each new development brings her and her family.

The Times said the appellate court agreed to postpone a proceeding scheduled for Wednesday, which was expected to attract international media coverage.

Prosecutors and Polanski's lawyers have been arguing about whether the filmmaker should be required to appear in person to request the case be dismissed.

The three-judge panel's order Tuesday didn't comment on the case, but gave the district attorney's office 10 days to offer a written response, The Times said.

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