Roman Polanski appears in Polish court for extradition hearing

Extradition hearing in Roman Polanski underage sex case
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Story highlights

  • Court is adjourned until April, delay partly due to documents that need to be translated
  • Roman Polanski gives evidence at his extradition hearing in Krakow, Poland
  • He is wanted for sentencing in the United States for having sex with a minor in the 1970s

(CNN)He was an acclaimed film director. She, a 13-year-old girl, working on a modeling job in California.

The decision by Roman Polanski to have sex with Samantha Geimer was one that continues to dog him nearly four decades later.
    "It was 1977 and I had a modeling job with Roman and at the very end of that he took advantage of me and made me have sex with him," Geimer said.
    At the time, Polanski pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sex with a minor. But the filmmaker fled the United States before he could be sentenced.
    Now, after a Polish prosecutor last month asked a regional court in Krakow to consider whether to extradite him to the United States, his case is being heard by a court there.
    Polanski appeared in court Wednesday to give evidence, following an opening statement from the prosecutor, court spokeswoman Beata Gorszczyk told CNN.
    The court was closed to the media Wednesday but will be open for any further hearings, she said.
    CNN's Polish affiliate TVN reported the hearing was later postponed until April. Part of the reason, TVN reported, was the arrival of new documents concerning the United States' attempt to have the director extradited from Switzerland in 2009.
    Many of the documents, which arrived on Tuesday, are in German, meaning that the Kraków District Court is obliged to translate them.
    Regardless of the Polish court's eventual ruling, the country's justice minister has the right to veto the decision.
    The United States called on Poland to extradite Polanski after the director, who survived the Nazi-German occupation of Kraków, attended the grand opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw in January.
    The now 81-year-old is subject to an Interpol warrant -- and has successfully avoided arrest and extradition from Canada, France, Israel, Thailand and Switzerland, where he was placed under temporary house arrest in 2009 before the Swiss refused the U.S. request the following year.
    On more than one occasion, his victim has called for the charges against him to be dropped.
    "Polanski went to jail for 42 days," Geimer said. "I never asked anyone to put him in jail for a day and in the scheme of things, from what I have been told, in 1977, 42 days would have been about average.
    "However, I think that was a lot, plus he was arrested again and went to jail for months again -- that's way in excess of anything he deserved."
    Polanski has also been vocal about the scandal. In the 2008 HBO documentary "Wanted and Desired," he explained his actions.
    "Well, I like young women, let's put it this way, and I think most men do actually," he said.
    While on the run, Polanski has continued to make films and win accolades, including an Academy Award for "The Pianist" and nominations for "Tess" and "Chinatown."
    The famed director has both French and Polish citizenship, and he is working on another movie in Poland, his parents' homeland, this spring.
    But yet again, he finds himself facing an attempt to have him returned to the United States to answer the decades-old charges.