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Lawyer: Polanski will fight extradition to the US

ZURICH (AP) -- Imprisoned director Roman Polanski is in a "fighting mood" and will battle U.S. attempts to have him extradited from Switzerland to California to face justice for fleeing a 1978 sex charge, his lawyer said Monday.

An international tug-of-war over the 76-year-old director escalated Monday as France and Poland urged Switzerland to free him on bail and pressed U.S. officials all the way up to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the case.

Roman Polanski
© Roberto Pfeil/AP
Roman Polanski

Polanski was in his third day of detention after Swiss police arrested him Saturday on an international warrant as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award from a film festival.

More: Polanski arrest shocks Hollywood

Authorities in Los Angeles consider Polanski a "convicted felon and fugitive." The director had pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl. He was sent to prison for 42 days but then the judge tried to renege on the plea bargain. On the day of his sentencing in 1978, aware the judge would sentence him to more prison time, Polanski fled to France.

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Polanski has told Swiss officials that he will contest a U.S. request that he be transferred to the United States, attorney Herve Temime said in an e-mail. Temime said Polanski's legal team would try to prove that the U.S. request was illegal and that the Oscar-winning director should be released from Swiss custody.

"Taking into account the extraordinary conditions of his arrest, his Swiss lawyer will seek his freedom without delay," Temime said.

The lawyer said he was able to speak with Polanski from his Zurich cell and that the director was allowed to meet with his wife, French actress Emmanuelle Seigner.

"He was shocked, dumbfounded, but he is in a fighting mood and he is very determined to defend himself," Temime said.

Now a complicated legal process awaits all sides.

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