Friday, July 22, 2005

Roman Polanski wins libel case against Vanity Fair

The British newspaper The Telegraph reports that Polanski has won his approx $100,000 libel suit against Conde Nast, publisher of Vanity Fair, in a London court. Please keep in mind that these types of libel suits are much easier to win in Britain than here.

Vanity Fair printed an article claiming that Polanski made sexual advances towards a Scandinavian model in Elaine's restaurant in New York City just after wife Sharon Tate's brutal murder. In fact, the article stated that the incident occurred during Polanski's trip to California for Tate's funeral. The magazine's publisher was forced to admit in court that the alleged incident actually took place two weeks after the funeral. Polanski was accompanied to the restaurant by Mia Farrow who testified on his behalf during the trial.

Polanski also testified, but by video link. He is afraid to visit Britain for fear of arrest and extradition to California to face sentencing for a child sexual abuse conviction for having sex with a 13 year-old girl. That incident took place inside Jack Nicholson's home. Polanski jumped bail before his sentencing in that case and fled to France where the French have refused to extradite him. He has to be very careful where he travels in order to avoid an unpleasant trip to California to face prison as well as federal and state unlawful flight and bail jumping charges.

Interestingly, Sharon Tate's sister, Debra, was in court for the verdict and is reported to have smiled. Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair and also present as the verdict was read, did not.

Polanski said:
"It goes without saying that, whilst the whole episode is a sad one, I am obviously pleased with the jury's verdict today.

"Three years of my life have been interrupted. Three years within which I have had no choice but to relive the horrible events of August 1969, the murders of my wife, my unborn child and my friends.

"Many untruths have been published about me, most of which I have ignored, but the allegations printed in the July 2002 edition of Vanity Fair could not go unchallenged."

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