Polanski's wife blames assault on 'crazy' 1970s

LA judge to decide whether Polish-born film director can be sentenced in absentia

The wife of the film director Roman Polanski said yesterday that she "understands" why other mothers are shocked by the fact that her husband had sex with a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s.

But the French singer and actress Emmanuelle Seigner, 43, said that her husband was a "marvellous man" who "bore no relation" to the sexual predator described in some press accounts of the 32-year-old case revived by his arrest in Switzerland last year.

She blamed the "crazy" moral climate of Los Angeles in the 1970s for Polanski's sexual assault on the girl at the home of the actor Jack Nicholson in 1977. "It was a time of madness," she said. "Attitudes to drugs and sexual liberty and permissiveness are no longer the same today."

Ms Seigner was talking to French Elle magazine as a Californian judge was preparing to rule last night on whether Polanski, 76, could be sentenced in his absence or whether he must be extradited to the US.

"The man I know bears no relation to the man described in some newspapers," said Ms Seigner, who has lived with Polanski since she was 18. "As far as I am concerned, Roman has always been a marvellous husband and father."

Ms Seigner is about to release her second pop album, Dingue, French for "crazy", which will include a duet with her husband. She told Elle that she was confident that "this business will be sorted out by the Americans".

Polanski fled the US in 1977 after pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with an underage girl. He was arrested in Switzerland in September and detained for two months before being released into house arrest at his Swiss chalet in December.

A judge in Los Angeles was due to decide last night whether Mr Polanski could remain in Switzerland while he is sentenced. His lawyers argue that, as part of a plea bargain in 1977, he was promised a short sentence which he served while awaiting trial. They say he fled the country when he was warned that the judge had changed his mind.

Prosecutors insist that Polanski must be extradited to the US for sentencing. Whichever way the Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza rules, there seems certain to be an appeal and several more months of legal wrangling.

Polanski's victim, Samantha Geimer, has also appealed to the court in LA to allow the Polish-born director to remain in Europe. Ms Geimer has consistently objected to the revival of the case.

Polanski was accused of plying her with champagne and drugs and raping and sodomising her during a modelling shoot at Nicholson's house. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy. He pleaded guilty to a single count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

Ms Seigner told Elle she "perfectly understood" that "other mothers" would be shocked by the allegations against her husband. She and Polanski have two children, Morgane, 16, and Elvis, nine.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee