(SUBS to correct directing credit in third graf, changing from "The Piano" to "The Pianist"; CORRECTS spelling of Los Angeles in dateline)
(This article is part of TIMES EXPRESS. It is a condensed version of a story that will appear in tomorrow's New York Times.)
c.2010 New York Times News Service@
LOS ANGELES — Ending a long silence, Roman Polanski addressed his possible extradition to the United States over a 33-year-old sex-crime case with a statement that accused authorities here of "trying to serve me on a platter to the media of the world," instead of honoring what he described as an agreement, made decades ago, to limit his punishment to time already served.
''I have decided to break my silence in order to address myself directly to you without any intermediaries and in my own words," Polanski said in the statement, which was distributed to the news media on Sunday.
The 908-word statement was circulated by Bernard-Henri Levy, who is a friend of Polanski's and the director of the French magazine La Regle du Jeu. Polanski, the Oscar-winning director whose films include "The Pianist" and "Chinatown," was arrested in Switzerland on Sept. 26. He has since been held pending possible extradition for sentencing in the case that stemmed from his arrest in 1977 after having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Charged with various offenses, including rape, Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor. He spent 42 days in a California state prison during a psychiatric evaluation, but fled the country before final sentencing by Judge Laurence Rittenband.
Polanski's lawyers have argued in court that Rittenband, who died in 1993, committed improprieties in the case and had promised that the psychiatric evaluation would be Polanski's entire sentence.
Prosecutors and a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge have insisted that Polanski cannot pursue his claims until he returns to the United States. But Polanski's lawyers have argued that an extradition request sent to Swiss authorities concealed facts that would show that he does not qualify for extradition.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has strongly disputed that claim. The Los Angeles court has scheduled a hearing for next Monday on an effort by Polanski to unseal recent testimony in which, Polanski's lawyers say, the prosecutor who handled his case, Roger Gunson, describes Rittenband's misconduct and intended limits on the sentence.
''I can remain silent no longer because the request for my extradition addressed to the Swiss authorities is founded on a lie," Polanski wrote in the statement.
Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, said that because the matter was pending before the Swiss courts, "we will withhold comment until the Swiss make a decision on his fugitive status."