Roman Polanski wins defamation case against British rape accuser

A Paris court ruled Tuesday that Roman Polanski did not defame a British actress who accused him of raping her when she was 16.

The case was related to an interview with the magazine in 2019 Paris game In it, the now 90-year-old director said that Charlotte Lewis had lied about the alleged sexual assault. Lewis, 56, first made her allegations public in 2010, saying she was sexually abused by Polanski “in the worst way” during a casting session for his 1983 film Pirates.

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According to the Associated Press, Tuesday’s verdict did not address the veracity of the rape allegation, but rather whether Polanski’s comments in the interview constituted defamation. He had denied the allegations.

Polanski, who fled the United States in 1978 after pleading guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, did not attend the defamation trial that stemmed from Lewis’ complaint.

His lawyer, Delphine Meillet, noted that the verdict coincided with the opening of the Cannes Film Festival and described it as “a symbolic day.” “It’s a victory for defense rights,” she added.

Lewis reportedly collapsed in the courthouse after the verdict was announced and told reporters that she would appeal. “I’m sad,” she said. “It’s not over for us yet.”

In March, Lewis told the court that her life had been “almost destroyed” by a smear campaign against her since she first went public with her story.

She also spoke to Le Parisien before the trial began about how she had “suffered every day for fourteen years” from the alleged defamation, saying she had “developed post-traumatic stress disorder, suffered a nervous breakdown and was blacklisted as an actress”.

In his 2019 interview with Paris gamePolanski said Lewis’ rape allegation was a “vile lie” and cited a quote from a 1999 article in the defunct British tabloid The News from all over the worldin which she was quoted as saying, according to the BBC, “I was fascinated by him and wanted to be his lover.”

Lewis disputed the accuracy of the quotes attributed to her in the article.

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