French-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski told a California judge he will return to America to face charges of statutory rape but on the condition that he does not face further jail time.
Polanski fled America for Paris in 1977 before sentencing for charges of statutory child rape, having allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot. Had he remained in America, he was subject to up to 50 years behind bars.
Now his lawyer, Harland Braun, has begun a legal negotiation to see Polanski returned to California to face the judge over the case — clarifying his status as a fugitive, according to TMZ.
However, Polanski will only agree to return to the U.S. on the condition that he will not face any further jail time, having already served more than a year of house arrest in Switzerland.
The Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee urged the judge to reject Polanski’s plea, arguing that the “defendant has many options before him if he returns to Los Angeles. What he cannot do is dictate outcomes from afar while insulating himself from any potential adverse consequence.”
The film director, now 83, has had an illustrious career despite his rape charges. Polanski has won multiple awards for titles such as Knife in the Water (1962,) Chinatown (1974), and The Pianist (2002).
Polanski has also faced personal tragedy. He lost his pregnant wife, Hollywood actress Sharon Tate, when members of the Manson family murdered her and four friends.