Roman Polanski has enlisted attorney Alan Dershowitz—whose clients have included the likes of Patty Hearst, O.J. Simpson, and Julian Assange—to help him close the long-simmering statutory rape case first brought against him in 1977. Dershowitz, who lives in Massachusetts, filed a motion in Los Angeles Superior Court asking to be allowed to represent Polanski in California. In a statement, Dershowitz said he intends “to see that the integrity of the criminal justice system is preserved” and that Polanski “has taken responsibility for his actions,” indicating that the 81-year-old director will receive that special brand of justice reserved for those who can afford to hire famous criminal attorneys from halfway around the world.
Polanski famously fled the U.S. right before Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, who presided over his original proceedings, was about to hand down his sentence. By that time, Polanski had already pled guilty to a charge of “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor” and spent 42 days in prison undergoing psychiatric evaluation as part of a plea deal that saw other charges against him dropped. When he learned that the judge might impose additional jail time, he left and has never returned, despite repeated attempts to extradite him.
The case returned to the public eye in 2008 after a documentary called Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired shed some light on Judge Rittenband’s questionable behavior. At this point, Polanski asked that the remaining charges be dismissed, but the new judge in charge of the case refused. He admitted, however, that there had been “substantial misconduct” and urged Polanski to come fight the charges in person.
Now, Dershowitz’s filing presents evidence that that judge was also crooked, alleging that he prejudged certain issues and was planning to put Polanski back in jail, at least for a little while, despite having indicated that he was willing to limit the sentence to jail time already served. Dershowitz’s filing demands a hearing aimed at closing the case once and for all. But with so many of America’s judges apparently out to get Polanski for whatever reason, it’s anybody’s guess as to whether that hearing can be fair.