Polanski was in Switzerland to accept a lifetime achievement award when authorities apprehended him. The 76-year-old movie director is renowned for his work on such films as The Pianist, Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby, but is also plagued by a past that includes unlawful sex with a 13-year-old. The incident occurred in 1977, and it was that charge that prompted his recent arrest after more than 30 years.
At the time, Polanski was accused of rape, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. Before he could be sentenced, however, Polanski fled the United States and has lived in France ever since.
Authorities have not yet decided whether Polanski will be extradited to the U.S., but for the time being he will remain under electronic surveillance at his chalet in the Swiss resort of Gstaad. Polanski must remain in Switzerland while the Swiss Justice Ministry decides his fate.
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"The 76-year-old appellant is married and the father of two minors," the court said in response to Polanski’s bail request. "It can be assumed that as a responsible father he will, especially in view of his advanced age, attach greater importance to the financial security of his family than a younger person."
Swiss legal experts were doubtful that bail would be granted, but at $4.5 million, Polanski is paying a hefty price. “Cash is king,” Peter Cosandey, a former Zurich prosecutor, told the AP, adding that he could “hardly remember a case where bail is granted to someone who isn't even a full-time Swiss resident."