LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A judge in Los Angeles ruled Tuesday that fugitive filmmaker Roman Polanski must return to the United States to request his decades-old sex case be dropped.
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 director, who is now 75 and living in his native France, 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.
However, Variety.com quoted Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza as saying Tuesday he couldn't rule on allegations of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct unless Polanski appears in person before him. Polanski's attorneys have asked that the judge reconsider the case in the director's absence.
The judge gave the "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" filmmaker until May 7 to present his side, Variety.com said.