Roman Polanski, the director of Rosemary’s Baby and husband of Manson Family victim Sharon Tate, will always be remembered by many as the man who admitted that, on March 10, 1977, at age 43, he plied a 13-year-old girl with booze and a little Quaalude before raping her orally, vaginally and anally, at a photo shoot at Jack Nicholson’s house in Los Angeles, before fleeing the U.S. for France in 1978 after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor—never to return.
For those who think it’s just super that the child sex predator won the 2003 Best Director Oscar for The Pianist and really would like to see what kind of magic he could cast were he ever allowed back in United States, good news.
Los Angeles County’s possibly outgoing District Attorney, reform crusader George Gascón, has decided not to oppose Polanski’s official request to unseal a former prosecutor’s testimony that the director claims will reveal misconduct from a judge, and would therefore wipe out his pesky conviction for raping a child, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The D.A. will not block the release of transcripts of closed-door testimony from the original prosecutor handling the case, Roger Gunson, who retired in 2002. Gascón told THR there were “some irregularities” in the case, starting with potential “judicial misconduct” from the judge.
A ruling unsealing the testimony could lead to Polanski being allowed to return to the U.S. without serving prison time for his underlying criminal case if it’s found that the court improperly reneged on a deal he allegedly struck with prosecutors for 90 days of psychiatric evaluation. But he may face time in prison for fleeing the country.
Polanski first requested Gunson’s testimony be unsealed in March, 2010, the Associated Press reported, and the motion was denied that May, while in July a Swiss judge refused a U.S. request to extradite Polanski. In 2016, the Polish Supreme Court also refused to extradite him back to the States.
In 2017, Polanski’s lawyers again requested the Gunson testimony be unsealed, not to mention asking for an order clearing the way for Polanski to come back to L.A. without being made to serve any time above what he thinks he already served. Those requests were denied, but that year his victim, Samantha Geimer, appeared in L.A. court to ask a judge to end the case, calling it a “40-year-sentence” imposed on both her and the director, according to AP.
A Los Angeles judge rejected Geimer’s request to end Polanski’s case in August, 2017.
As THR notes, judges have pointed to the larger issues at stake in the criminal justice system and the precedent it would set if the case against lammist Polanski is dismissed. The latest request to see Gunson’s testimony, however, came from independent journalists Sam Wasson and William Rempel, who say they want to scrutinize the integrity of the courts.
Gascón had resisted Polanski’s efforts as well, believing the convict was trying to put one over on his office and the court, but he now says the request coming from journalists is a different matter.
“As this Court also noted, prosecutors have a broader role in the criminal justice system as guardians of systematic integrity,” the filing read. “The Polanski case has tested the judicial system, and the combinations of interests that the People must consider during the prosecution of a case.”
Gascón has said his predecessors may have backtracked on a deal, adding, “He had already served a period of time. As I remember, the agreement said that would be the maximum time he’d serve for the conduct.”
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