Los Angeles prosecutors wanted Austrian authorities to pounce on Roman Polanski before he left for Switzerland, but they were unsure of how "friendly" the country's officials would be during an extradition process.
According to email records obtained through the U.S. public request system, prosecutors considered filing a warrant for the director's arrest with officials in Austria, where the Rosemary's Baby auteur was staying in the days leading up to his arrest at Switzerland's Zurich airport in September (09).
However, after closely monitoring the filmmaker while he was on "on the move", U.S. authorities decided against the tactic - as they weren't positive there was enough time to organise the arrest.
And, according to email accounts, L.A. officials were concerned about how cooperative the government would be, as they had not previously dealt with Austria on extradition requests.
In an email to a colleague, deputy district attorney Diana Carbajal writes, "I don't have experience with any Austrian extraditions so I don't know how 'friendly' they would be to extradition on such a case."
She then asked the same colleague whether they should "maintain our position to extradite from Switzerland," to which the fellow deputy district attorney replied, "Yes".
Polanski is wanted by the U.S. after pleading guilty to a 1977 sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles and then fleeing to France before he was due to be sentenced the following year (78).
He has since been denied bail by Swiss officials on two occasions. The filmmaker has another chance to appeal before 29 October (09), while America must file for a formal extradition by 25 November (09).