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Swiss to make Polanski announcement Monday

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[July 12, 2010]  GENEVA (AP) -- Switzerland will make an announcement Monday about the extradition of Roman Polanski to the United States for sentencing on a charge of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, the government said.

Justice Ministry spokesman Guido Balmer declined to confirm that a decision had been made, or what it might be.

The government said only that Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf will hold a news conference in the capital, Bern, at 2 p.m. (1200 GMT; 8 a.m. EDT) "on the matter of the Roman Polanski extradition decision."

Lawyers representing Polanski declined to comment before the Swiss announcement.

The Oscar-winning director of "Rosemary's Baby," "Chinatown" and "The Pianist" was accused of plying his victim with champagne and part of a Quaalude during a 1977 modeling shoot and raping her. He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy, but pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

What happened after that is a subject of dispute. The defense says the now deceased judge, Laurence J. Rittenband, had agreed in meetings with attorneys to sentence Polanski to a 90-day diagnostic study and nothing more. The judge later changed his mind and summoned Polanski for further sentencing -- at which time he fled to his native France, attorneys say.

Polanski was arrested Sept. 26 as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival.

The film director has been held in Switzerland since then on an extradition request made by U.S. authorities.

He was allowed to move from prison to his Alpine chalet in December pending the extradition decision.

If the Swiss government decides to extradite him, Polanski would be allowed to appeal the order to the Swiss courts, setting up months of legal wrangling.

[Associated Press; By FRANK JORDANS]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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