'A nightmare I couldn't wake up from': Actress takes Roman Pokanski to court for first time in 45 years

Roman Polanski is on trial for defamation this Tuesday March 5, 2024.

'A nightmare I couldn't wake up from': Actress takes Roman Pokanski to court for first time in 45 years

Roman Polanski is on trial for defamation this Tuesday March 5, 2024. In December 2019, he described the accusations of rape made by Charlotte Lewis against him as a “heinous lie”.

Roman Polanski finds himself in court for the first time since his flight from the United States in 1977. The 90-year-old director is on trial this Tuesday March 5 by the Paris criminal court for defamation of actress Charlotte Lewis. The latter had publicly accused him, in 2010, of having raped her in 1983, on the set of the film Pirates, when she was 16 years old. The director, who denounced an “odious lie” in 2019, will however not be present at the hearing, unlike the complainant.

Roman Polanski is therefore not being tried for the acts of rape, but for defamation for the comments he made in this interview with Paris-Match in 2019. In an interview with Le Parisien, Charlotte Lewis believes she was the victim of a " smear campaign", which, according to her, "was much worse" than the rape, "because the defamation has made me suffer every day for fourteen years (...] It's as if I was living a nightmare from which I couldn't wake up." The actress assures that, since then, she has developed post-traumatic syndrome, she had a nervous breakdown and was blacklisted as an actress.

Roman Polanski's lawyer, Me Delphine Meillet, told AFP that her client "has the right to defend himself publicly" against the accusations, while Charlotte Lewis' counsel, Me Benjamin Chouai, believes that "smearing, discrediting, defaming, that’s an integral part of the Polanski system.”

In December 2019, Roman Polanski was questioned about this affair by Paris Match magazine. He then qualified the actress' comments as a "heinous lie": "You see, the first quality of a good liar is an excellent memory. Charlotte Lewis is always mentioned in the list of my accusers without ever highlight its contradictions.

In essence, it refers to an interview that was republished in the tabloid News of the World, in which the actress said she was a prostitute at the age of 14 and that she wanted to "become Polanski's mistress." She has since contested this interview, but the actress's words have been discredited. Asked about the reasons which could have pushed Charlotte Lewis to “wrongly accuse him”, Roman Polanski then replied in 2019: “What do I know? Frustration? We should question psychologists, scientists, historians, what do I know?

In an interview with Le Parisien this Tuesday, Charlotte Lewis responded by declaring that since 2010 she had to face "people who think that I prostituted myself at the age of 14, which I could never have done and which I have never done." She also assures that "Roman Polanski knows very well that I have never been a prostitute or a liar. I just want to clear my name for my son and his future children."

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