Polanski loses appeal to avoid return to U.S.

LOS ANGELES – With his latest appeal rejected, Roman Polanski’s fate once again lies in the hands of Swiss authorities.

A California appeals court Thursday rejected Polanski’s bid to have his case reviewed by a special counsel or to be sentenced in absentia.

The Swiss Justice Ministry had been waiting for the court’s ruling before deciding whether to allow the Oscar-winning director to be returned to Los Angeles for sentencing in his 33-year-old sex case.

But a Swiss official said Friday that the ministry wouldn’t rush into a decision. If it ultimately approves extradition, Polanski could still lodge court appeals in Switzerland that would delay his return to the United States for months.

Polanski has been under house arrest for months at his chalet in the resort of Gstaad as his attorneys repeatedly sought to win the director’s freedom in Los Angeles courtrooms.

They have argued that Polanski, 76, shouldn’t have to be present to be sentenced on one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. In their latest appeal, they argued that he should be sentenced to time served.

The recent appeal focused on newly obtained testimony from a former prosecutor who felt the original judge handling Polanski’s case acted improperly. That testimony remains sealed.

The California 2nd District Court of Appeal dismissed Polanski’s appeal without issuing an opinion. The court also dismissed a petition by Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, to have the case dismissed.

The Swiss will extradite Polanski to the United States only if he faces a sentence longer than six months. U.S. prosecutors say Polanski faces up to two years in prison.

It remains unclear how quickly the Swiss will rule on Polanski’s extradition.

The director could still seek to end the case in California by appealing to the state Supreme Court. His attorneys declined comment Thursday and have not indicated what their next step will be.

Reality TV star hospitalized

LOS ANGELES – Bret Michaels is in critical condition suffering from a brain hemorrhage.

Michaels’ publicist, Joann Mignano, confirmed a report on People magazine’s website Friday that said Michaels, 47, was rushed to intensive care late Thursdaywith a severe headache, and that doctors found bleeding at the base of his brain stem.

Mignano said tests are being conducted and no further information was available.

The reality TV star and former frontman for the ’80s rock band Poison had an emergency appendectomy last week. He said on his website that although the surgery “has taken its toll,” doctors expected him to make a full recovery.

Kudrow’s Web series moving

NEW YORK – Former “Friends” star Lisa Kudrow’s Web series is moving to a bigger screen.

Showtime said Friday that it will air at least 10 episodes of “Web Therapy” starting next year, with new material shot for TV.

Kudrow plays a self-proclaimed psychotherapist who supposedly treats patients with weekly three-minute sessions via Web cam. Even with that short a length of time, she’s more interested in her own issues than in theirs.

Several comedic actors make appearances. They include former “Friends” co-star Courteney Cox, Jane Lynch of “Glee,” Rashida Jones of “The Office” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”

“Web Therapy” is in its third season of online episodes.

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