Ordered release of court documents in Polanski criminal case

LOS ANGELES – A California appeals court on Wednesday ordered the unseal of some documents in the criminal case against acclaimed director Roman Polanski, who has been on the run since his guilty plea Sex with a 13 year old girl decades agoannounced a California prosecutor.

The court ordered the unseal of the conditional deposition record of Roger Gunson, who was the original prosecutor in the Los Angeles County case, the district attorney’s office said.

However, there were no immediate words as to when the documents would be released.

A call seeking comment from Polanski’s Los Angeles agent, Jeff Berg, was not answered Wednesday night.

But Harland Braun, Polanski’s attorney, said the Los Angeles Times that his client was “thrilled” with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals’ order.

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Polanski, 88, who won a best director Oscar in 2003 for The Pianist, remains a fugitive after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 and leaving the United States on the eve of sentencing the following year fled to France.

France, Switzerland and Poland turned down offers to extradite him to the United States and he continues to be celebrated in Europe, receiving praise and collaborating with great actors.

However, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him from its membership in 2018.

At Polanski’s trial, the victim testified that during a photo shoot at Jack Nicholson’s home in March 1977, when the actor was not home, Polanski gave her champagne and some sedative and then forced her to have sex, despite her objections. The girl said she didn’t fight him because she was afraid of him, but her mother later called the police.

But in a 2010 interview with CNN, the victim, Samantha Geimer, said she thought the judge in Polanski’s case had been dishonest with him.

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In 2017, Geimer appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom to ask a judge to drop the case, calling it a “40-year sentence” imposed on both her and the director. The request was rejected.

Polanski has long argued that there was judicial misconduct in his case. In 2010, a Los Angeles court took a sealed testimony from Gunson about his memories of promises the judge made to the director in 1977.

Polanski has argued that the Gunson transcript would show that LA County Superior Court Judge Laurence Rittenband had intended that after Polanski pleaded guilty, he would only serve a 90-day investigation in state prison. The director was released after just 42 days, but the judge later continued for another 48 days and Polanski fled.

Polanski’s attorneys had long tried to unseal that statement, believing that writing it down might help her case.

Braun told the Times that after receiving the transcript, he would ask that Polanski be sentenced to a prison sentence that could allow him to return to the US without fear of arrest.

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Geimer, who is pushing for an investigation into alleged misconduct by the judiciary, had also asked for the transcript to be unsealed, and in a letter last month she urged the prosecutor’s office to reconsider the case.

The bureau had objected to the release of the material for years, but overturned its objection earlier this week, saying it was following Geimer’s request.

“Finally, after decades of waiting, the victim’s request has been granted and her voice has been heard,” the prosecutor’s office said in its statement on Wednesday.

“We are pleased that the Court of Appeals agreed with both the victim and our office on the need for transparency,” District Attorney George Gascón said in the statement. “We hope it gives her a small measure of reassurance that she can finally bring this decade-long legal battle to some conclusion.”

According to the prosecutor’s office, Geimer was informed of the decision and was grateful: “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2022/07/14/court-documents-in-polanski-criminal-case-ordered-released/ Ordered release of court documents in Polanski criminal case

Sarah Y. Kim

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