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Last Updated: Friday, 22 July, 2005, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Director Polanski wins libel case
Roman Polanski
Mr Polanski denied the incident ever took place
Roman Polanski has been awarded 50,000 libel damages from a magazine which said he propositioned a woman shortly after his wife was murdered in 1969.

Vanity Fair publisher Conde Nast had conceded the article was inaccurate, but said the gist of it held true.

Mr Polanski denied it ever happened and he had been "monstrously libelled".

After the verdict, he said: "It goes without saying that, whilst the whole episode is a sad one, I am obviously pleased with the jury's verdict today."

He added: "Three years of my life have been interrupted. Three years within which I have had no choice but to relive the horrible events of August 1969, the murders of my wife, my unborn child and my friends.

"Many untruths have been published about me, most of which I have ignored, but the allegations printed in the July 2002 edition of Vanity Fair could not go unchallenged."

Graydon Carter
Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, was also in court

'Equally outrageous'

Mr Polanski had testified in Paris, amid fears that if he entered the UK he would face extradition to the US, where he is still required to face sentencing for child sex charges.

Outside court, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter said: "I find it amazing that a man who lives in France can sue a magazine that is published in America in a British courtroom.

"As a father of four children, one of whom is a 12-year-old daughter, I find it equally outrageous that this story is considered defamatory, given the fact that Mr Polanski cannot be here because he slept with a 13-year-old girl a quarter of a century ago."

Mr Polanski's pregnant wife was murdered by Charles Manson's cult followers at the couple's home in California.

Vanity Fair had claimed the director made sexual advances to a woman at a New York restaurant on the way to Ms Tate's funeral.

Legal bill

But Mr Polanski told the High Court he had been libelled "for the sake of a lurid anecdote".

The magazine unsuccessfully argued the incident did happen, although it admitted it had got its dates wrong.

Harper's Magazine editor Lewis Lapham, who was the source of the story, testified he had witnessed Mr Polanski talking to model Beate Telle in a "forward way".

He said: "At one point he had his hand on her leg and said to her 'I can put you in movies. I can make you the next Sharon Tate'. "

Conde Nast was ordered to pay 175,000 costs within 14 days, and faces a legal bill which could top 1m.


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