Filmmaker Roman Polanski will be tried for defamation on Tuesday afternoon, after describing the accusations of sexual assault made against him by British actress Charlotte Lewis as “abhorrent lies”. The hearing will open at 1:30 p.m. before the 17th chamber of the Paris Criminal Court. The 90-year-old Franco-Polish director, who lives in Paris, will not appear there, said his lawyers who will represent him. Charlotte Lewis, 56 years old and living in the United Kingdom, will be present.

In May 2010, in the middle of the Cannes Film Festival, Charlotte Lewis accused Roman Polanski of having “sexually assaulted” her at his home in Paris in 1983, when she was 16 years old. The actress, who played under his direction in Pirates, released three years later, did not file a complaint but testified to the American police. She explained at the time that she wanted to share her experience to counter Roman Polanski’s defense which claimed, according to her, that the Samantha Gailey affair was an isolated case. Nine years later, in December 2019, Roman Polanski described these accusations as a “heinous lie” in an interview with Paris Match. “You see, the first quality of a good liar is an excellent memory. Charlotte Lewis is always mentioned in the list of my accusers without ever pointing out (her) contradictions,” declared the director.

Roman Polanski then mentioned comments attributed to the actress in an interview published twenty years earlier, in 1999, by the British tabloid News of the World. “I wanted to be his mistress (…). I probably wanted it more than he wanted it,” it was written in this article. An “not accurate” quote, Charlotte Lewis denounced in 2010. Roman Polanski’s defense called the ex-journalist author of the article at the hearing.

Pirates by Roman Polanski in 1986, with Walter Matthau, Cris Campion, Charlotte Lewis…

This defamation trial comes at a time when the world of cinema is shaken by the Judith Godrèche affair, who filed a complaint for rape of a minor against the directors Benoît Jacquot and Jacques Doillon.

Roman Polanski, who won three Oscars and a Palme d’Or, has been accused of sexual assault and rape by around ten women over the course of his career. Accusations for all prescribed facts, which he always contested and which did not prevent him from working. He is also considered a fugitive in the United States, for more than forty years after a conviction for “illegal sexual relations” with a 13-year-old minor, Samantha Gailey (now Geimer).