August 18, 2015 / 12:21 PM / 4 years ago

Polanski case moves forward as Polish court gets US papers

KRAKOW, Poland (Reuters) - A Polish court that is to rule on a U.S. request to extradite Roman Polanski over a 1977 child sex conviction has received legal documents it requested from U.S. authorities, it said on Tuesday, taking the case a step closer to its conclusion.

Filmmaker Roman Polanski talks to the media after a court hearing in Krakow February 25, 2015. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

The filmmaker, who has joint Polish and French nationality lives in Paris so any Polish extradition order would not force him to return to the United States. However, Polanski hopes to make a movie in his homeland, something that would be jeopardized if the extradition request is granted.

The case was adjourned in May when the court said it needed more information from authorities in the United States where Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to having sex with a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot in Los Angeles.

The filmmaker’s lawyers had said the documents, related to Polanski’s interrogation and the questioning of the prosecutor who conducted investigation in the 1970s, were crucial.

“The court is now looking into the documents and only after some time will it be able to assess whether it has received answers for all the queries addressed to the U.S. side,” a court spokeswoman said.

If the court rules in favor of the extradition, the case will be passed to the justice minister for a final decision.

The director, now 82, served 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day plea bargain. He fled the United States the following year, believing the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and put him in jail for years.

His successful career has continued outside the United States and several of his films have won Oscars.

In 2009, Polanski was arrested in Zurich on a U.S. warrant and placed under house arrest. He was freed in 2010 after Swiss authorities decided not to extradite him.

According to sources close to Polanski, the fate of the movie he plans to shoot in Poland, about the Dreyfus affair in 19th century France, hinges on the extradition ruling as producers are ready to finance the movie only once they are sure Polanski would be safe in his home country. The Polish state plans to co-finance the film.

Reporting by Wojciech Zurawski; Writing by Agnieszka Barteczko and Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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