California's Governor will not use his power to clear the fugitive filmmaker of rape conviction

By Peter Mikelbank Karen Nickel Anhalt
October 02, 2009 08:05 AM
Jerzy Dabrowski-KPA/ZUMA Press

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger waded into the Roman Polanski case Thursday, saying that while he admires the Oscar-winning director’s work, he would not treat his “situation any differently than everyone else.”

During an interview on CNN’s Situation Room, the actor-turned-politician excluded the possibility of an advance pardon should the film director, 76, return to the U.S. Polanski, who made Rosmeary’s Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist, was arrested Sept. 26 at Zurich airport on a warrant related to a l977 child rape case and his subsequent flight from justice.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a big-time movie actor or a big-time movie director or producer,” Schwarzenegger said. “I think that he is a very respected person, and I am a big admirer of his work.

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“But nevertheless, I think he should be treated like everyone else,” he added. As California’s governor, with one year remaining in office, the Austrian-born actor has the power to grant clemency to the director. Said Schwarzenegger: “One should look into all of the allegations, not only his allegations but the allegations about his case. Was there something done wrong? You know, was injustice done in the case?”

Polanski’s lawyer has vowed his client will fight extradition to California.

Earlier this week, lawyers in Zurich Switzerland asked a tribunal to release the Oscar winner during his appeal and Swiss magistrates are expected to rule on the request next week. Pending their decision, Polanski remains in prison.