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Polanski is acquitted by French court in defamation trial

A French court on Tuesday acquitted film director Roman Polanski of defaming British actress Charlotte Lewis after she accused him of raping her when she was a teenager.

Lewis, 56, alleged in 2010 that the French-Polish director had sexually assaulted her in his Paris apartment in 1983, when she was 16, after she traveled to the French capital for a casting session. She starred in his 1986 film “Pirates.”

She filed a defamation lawsuit after Polanski called her allegations a “heinous lie” in a 2019 interview with Paris Match magazine.

Paris Match also wrote that Polanski cited a statement attributed to Lewis in a 1999 interview she gave to the News of the World, in which she allegedly commented: “I wanted to be his lover… I probably wanted him more than he wanted me.” ”.

Lewis disputed the accuracy of the statement.

Polanski's lawyer, Delphine Meillet, hailed the verdict as “an important day for freedom of expression and defense rights.”

“Today a court said: yes, it is possible to contest charges,” she said.

Lewis said he will appeal the verdict.

“I feel sad and disappointed. It's a sad day for women and men. But it's not over yet. We will appeal,” Lewis said, crying.

Polanski, director of such classic films as Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist and God of Carnage, fled California for Europe in 1978 after pleading guilty to illegal sex with a 13-year-old girl but before being formally convicted. .

After the #MeToo movement gained global momentum in 2017 following allegations of sexual abuse against US film producer Harvey Weinstein, several women alleged that Polanski had sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers.

Polanski has always denied the allegations, which have never gone to trial, but he has since had difficulty securing global distribution deals for his films, even though actors are still lining up to work with him.

In 2020, Polanski won the best director award for his film “The Officer and the Spy” at Cesars, which caused several women in the audience to walk out in protest for honoring a man facing rape allegations.

Source: CNN Brasil

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