Workers Prepare Roman Polanski's Swiss Chalet in Anticipation of House Arrest
GSTAAD, Switzerland – Workers plowed snow away from Roman Polanski's Alpine chalet on Monday, as Swiss authorities worked with the director's lawyers to meet the conditions of his $4.5 million bail and house arrest.
The Swiss Justice Ministry wouldn't say when Polanski would be released from jail. Spokesman Folco Galli said there were still outstanding requirements from last week's court decision that granted Polanski permission to live in the luxury resort of Gstaad if he wears an electronic monitoring bracelet.
"If the conditions were met, he would be in Gstaad," Galli said, refusing to elaborate.
It was not clear if Polanski was struggling to meet the large bail required. Polanski's Paris lawyer Herve Temime declined to comment.
The 76-year-old filmmaker was still believed to be held in Winterthur, near Zurich. His Swiss attorney Lorenz Erni entered the Winterthur jail early Monday, then left several hours later -- alone -- and didn't answer any questions.
In the central resort town of Gstaad, however, workers were seen clearing heavy snow from the road leading up to Polanski's property, a three-story stucco and wood home with its own garden. The chalet is where he will be confined as Switzerland decides whether to extradite him to the U.S. for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl.
An alarm will ring if Polanski leaves the property but no special police protection will be provided. The director will be able to go outside to check the mail or entertain guests in the garden. He will also be able to make calls, send e-mails and work on his films. Phone conversations will not be monitored.
It was unclear when Polanski's wife and two children would join him in Gstaad. His sister-in-law Mathilde Seigner told the Le Parisien newspaper that his family usually goes to the chalet around Christmas and plans to meet there again this year.
The director has been in Swiss custody since being arrested Sept. 26 on a U.S. warrant as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival. Authorities in Los Angeles want him returned to be officially sentenced after 31 years as a fugitive.
Polanski was initially accused of raping the girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a modeling shoot in 1977. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.
In exchange, the judge agreed to drop the remaining charges and sent him to prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. The evaluator released Polanski after 42 days, but the judge said he was going to send him back to serve out the 90 days.
Polanski fled the U.S. on Feb. 1, 1978, the day he was to be formally sentenced. He has lived since then in France, which does not extradite its citizens.
The director of "Rosemary's Baby," "Chinatown" and "The Pianist" claims that the U.S. judge and prosecutors acted improperly in his case. His attorneys argue before a California appeals court in December that the charges should be dismissed.