The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday that the Los Angeles District Attorney's office approved the denial of a Swiss request for information in the Roman Polanski case, which Swiss officials say led to the fugitive filmmaker's release.
The Justice department said that it kept the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office fully informed of all requests from Swiss authorities regarding the effort to have Polanski extradited to the United States.
The department added that the DA's office provided input and "approved all responses from the U.S. government to Swiss authorities on this matter," including one rejecting a request to turn over sealed testimony that proved pivotal in Switzerland's decision to free Polanski.
"The Department of Justice and the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office worked in close coordination on this important extradition request," Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said in an e-email.
The Swiss government says it asked the Justice Department to release sealed transcripts in the Polanski case just days before a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles told a judge that the Swiss did not request that information.
A warrant for Polanksi's arrest remains active, effectively barring the 76-year-old from returning to the U.S., which he fled in 1978 on the eve of sentencing for a charge of having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.
The Oscar-winning director of "Rosemary's Baby," "Chinatown" and "The Pianist" was accused of plying his victim with champagne and part of a Quaalude during a 1977 modeling shoot and raping her. He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy, but pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.