Roman Polanski lawyers call for misconduct inquiry

PARIS/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The victim in director Roman Polanski’s 1977 sex crime case said on Tuesday she hoped the matter would now be closed but Polanski’s U.S. legal team called for a full inquiry into allegations of judicial misconduct three decades ago.

Switzerland on Monday refused to extradite Polanski to California to face the sentencing he fled in 1978 and freed him after months of house arrest.

Samantha Geimer, who was 13 in 1977 when Polanski gave her drugs and champagne and had sex with her, has repeatedly asked for the case to be dropped.

“I am satisfied with this decision and I hope that the district attorney will now close the case and get it over once and for all,” Geimer, now a mother of three in her 40s, told French radio Europe 1.

Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex in Los Angeles with Geimer. He fled before sentencing, saying he believed the judge would renege on a plea agreement under which the 42 days he had spent in detention for psychiatric assessment would constitute his full sentence.

Swiss officials turned down the U.S. extradition request, citing potential technical faults and saying it failed to clarify whether the “Chinatown” director had in fact served his sentence more than 30 years ago.

The argument over the reported plea deal and allegations of judicial misconduct in the original case have been the focus of years of legal wrangling in California courts.

“That evidence was not insignificant and the failure to produce it (to the Swiss) was neither accidental nor a ‘technicality’ as some have said,” Polanski’s Los Angeles defense team said in a statement on Tuesday.

They called for a thorough investigation by a “fair and impartial third party” of the misconduct allegations and said the results should be made public.

The whereabouts of Polanski, who won an Oscar for his 2002 movie “The Pianist,” were being kept secret on Tuesday. His French lawyer declined to comment on reports that the director was returning to France, where he is a citizen and long-time resident, from his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, where he had been under house arrest since December.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley said on Monday his office would continue efforts to bring Polanski to justice “if he’s arrested in a cooperative jurisdiction.”

Polanski’s wife, French actress and singer Emmanuelle Seigner, said in an interview with the newspaper Liberation that the Swiss decision was a huge relief.

“It’s the end of a nightmare, above all for our two children,” she was quoted as saying. “I could not imagine another outcome. Today, the Swiss authorities have realized

the injustice of this affair.”

Reporting by Julien Ponthus in Paris and Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Bill Trott