Tag Archives: hollywood

Sex with a minor. Should Roman Polanski be Extradited to US?

It’s been 32 years since film director Roman Polanski was tried and convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl. In 1977, the case drew worldwide attention, with many commentators at the time using it to show the depravity and excess of Hollywood. Polanski, fearful a judge would back out of a plea agreement and send him to prison, left the country prior to his sentencing to live in France.

roman.polanski.arrest

It must have come as quite a shock when he was arrested in Switzerland this past weekend. He was there, after all, to receive an award at the Zurich Film Festival. He’d traveled there many times before, and even maintains a home in Switzerland. Yet the ghosts of 32 years past won’t go away. It’s possible Roman Polanski will be extradited to the US to face the sentence he ran away from all those years ago.

Ironically, it could also mean freedom. A lot has happened since Polanski was convicted, and his legal team has been fighting his conviction based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. Those were chronicled in a documentary, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” released last year. Regardless, Polanski’s arrest has set off not just a legal tussle, but a diplomatic storm involving the Swiss, French, US, and Polish governments.

Polanski has spent the past 32 years as the world’s most celebrated convicted child molester. Despite the time facing him in the US, he’s directed films around the world apparently without fear of getting busted and sent back. He’s now a French citizen, and France has no formal extradition treaty with the US. He even received an Oscar in absentia for the 2002 film “The Pianist”. Despite having to be careful about where he went, Polanski hasn’t exactly lived as a wanted man.

Roman Polanski 2009

Which leads to a few questions. How badly over the past 32 years has the US actually wanted him back here to do his time? There are reports US marshals came close to busting him on several occasions, but for one reason or another, Roman Polanski eluded their grasp. Then there’s the question of whether Polanski’s obvious and extraordinary talent and his tragic past mitigates his original crime.

For those who may have forgotten, the guy was originally charged with drugging a 13 year old girl, then having sex with her. The original charges could have landed him in prison for life, but he plea bargained down to a single count of having sex with a minor.

The victim, Samantha Geimer, publicly identified herself a long time ago, and has forgiven Polanski.

Samantha Geimer
Samantha Geimer

She also sued him, and received an unspecified settlement. So the question remains, what to do about Roman Polanski?

Should he be brought back here to serve the typical 16 months to three years he’s avoided all this time? Should the protests of France and Poland be heeded, and Polanski released from custody in Switzerland? If he does come back here, is there a good chance the original case will be thrown out? What’s best?

Take my poll on the left and post a comment here!

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Paula Abdul or William Jefferson…Which Story's Bigger? You Decide.

Today, dear reader, I’m going to let you decide which is the bigger story.

Is it former Louisiana Cong. William Jefferson being convicted on corruption charges, or is it Paula Abdul leaving “American Idol”?

I know which one is bigger to me, but that’s just me. If you go by the Google News tally, it’s no contest. So which should command our attention? Is it a marginally talented singer/dancer/choreographer who didn’t get the money she wanted, or the ethically challenged legislator who most folks now feel got what he deserved?

paula.abdul

I must admit, I don’t “get” “American Idol”. I’m not one of those who, like my wife and daughter, sit glued to the TV whenever Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and company are on. Talents contests are as old as the medium itself, and there’s plenty on the tube more spacey than Paula and more acerbic than Simon . Yet there’s no doubting that “Idol” is, as Abdul modestly puts it, an international phenomenon.

Does that mean she’s worth the money she was asking for? Not if I had to pay it. I’m sure Paula Abdul won’t miss any meals after her departure, and there are reports she’s already being wowed by other show producers. Good for her. I just never thought she had the chops to judge the talent of others. Her singing has been described, not be me, as “thin and transparent”. Yes, she’s a great choreographer, but “American Idol” wasn’t about dancing. Anyway, you get my drift. To me, her leaving “American Idol” will never, ever be confused with getting those journalists out of North Korea.

Nor does it compare to the stunning fall from grace of William Jefferson, the first black congressman elected from the state of Louisiana since Reconstruction.

WilliamJefferson

Some may have forgotten his sad saga, but in 2005, the FBI raided his CD home and found $90,000 dollars stashed in a freezer. The money was a payoff to the Vice President of Nigeria for help in launching a telecommunications venture.

William Jefferson became another first in May of 2006, when the FBI seized his computer hard drive and office files in the Rayburn House Office Building. It was the first time that happened to a sitting member of Congress. Now, Jefferson stands convicted on 11 of 16 counts, including bribery, racketeering, and money laundering. At 62, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Now, I happen to be a political junkie, which is why William Jefferson trumps Paula Abdul in my book. Yet I know I’m probably in the minority. Most people will be huddled around their water coolers today, talking not about a disgraced former congressman, but about an out of work former Los Angeles Lakers cheerleader.

So, you tell me. Which story is bigger?

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