Still-Jailed Roman Polanski Coming Up Short in $4.5 Million Bail Quest
Roman Polanski had plenty to be thankful for over the holiday weekend, including -- if reports coming out of Switzerland are accurate -- his imminent move to house arrest, the aid of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a busy Alpine snowplow, and whoever designed the half-assed, non-GPS electronic bracelet he's slated to wear after leaving his detainment facility. Now if only he could afford to take advantage of all of it.
Swiss authorities today noted that Polanski has yet to round up the $4.5 million bail agreed to late last week by the country's justice ministry, and thus he remains in jail in beautiful downtown Winterthur. Unlike the US, with its bail bondsmen and resultant, rich bounty-hunter culture, Swiss policy is to collect the entire bail amount before releasing their detainees back into the public at large. Polanski's team is putting the funds together now and expect to have their man released in the days ahead, allowing him to retreat to his chalet while battling his pending extradition to the States.
He owes a big hug to Sarkozy and the French first lady Carla Bruni, who reportedly influenced bail negotiations behind the scenes. And Polanski may even get to deliver that embrace sooner than later if he's crafty enough, because another Swiss expert acknowledged that the electronic monitoring bracelet the 76-year-old filmmaker would be required to wear is essentially useless if he decides to challenge its range. "The canton of Bern uses the first generation system," Jonas Peter Weber, a professor at the University of Bern, told The Times of London. "We can only check if the person is at home. If the alarm goes off and no police is in the vicinity, the person will be able to flee."
So let's just assume that we've seen the last of Polanski -- even if the Swiss police claimed his passport, even if his flight might humiliate Sarkozy, and even if his future films would probably bomb in the United States, we know how this guy rolls. Nevertheless, he has some enticing reasons to sit tight, including a freshly plowed, easy-to-navigate road to his home in Gstaad and literally no constraints beyond phone monitoring. Show-offy, revealing Twitter dispatches from the slopes can't be far behind.