An Associated Press report this morning cites documents in the Roman Polanski extradition case that put the blame for the scapegrace director’s free pass on the U.S. Department of Justice. According to AP,
The Swiss government asked the U.S. Justice Department to release sealed transcripts in the Roman Polanski case just days before a Los Angeles judge was told that the Swiss did not request that information, according to a letter from Swiss officials that points to apparent miscommunication in the case.
The officials said that the denial of access to the information was the key factor in the refusal to extradite the film maker to the U.S., according to the letter to the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland.
A district attorney’s spokeswoman said their office was never notified of the Swiss request and did not know that the Justice Department had turned it down.
The letter dated Monday was obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday night. It provided a time line of when the request was filed and when it was turned down. The letter blamed the denial of extradition solidly on the refusal by the Justice Department to show transcripts of testimony by the film director’s original prosecutor to Swiss officials.
“Since the additional documents requested were not transmitted in full, extradition of Roman Polanski to the United States of America is thus denied,” said the letter. Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said she had no comment on the matter.
Why did the DOJ refuse to provide documents to the Swiss in this high-profile case? It appears that Polanski’s attorney, Reid Weingarten, is a close friend of Eric Holder.
Holder is no stranger to extradition flubs. As President Clinton’s deputy attorney general, Holder recommended a pardon for the convicted fugitive Marc Rich, who cheated on his taxes to the extent of millions of dollars and was convicted on 65 counts of tax evasion.
Congressional investigators should subpoena Holder’s phone log and email to determine what communication he had with the Polanski legal team.