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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Judge reneged on promise in Polanski sex abuse case: ex-prosecutor testifies

LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) – A Los Angeles judge privately told lawyers he would reneging on a promise and jail Roman Polanski for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in 1977, a former prosecutor said. Testified, set the stage for the famous director’s escape from the U.S. as a fugitive.

A previously sealed transcript obtained by the Associated Press for testimony by retired deputy district attorney Roger Gunson late Sunday supports Polanski’s claim that he fled on the eve of sentencing in 1978 because he didn’t think he got a fair deal. Are getting.

Gunson said in in-camera testimony in 2010 that the judge had broken a promise to release Polanski because state prison officials determined he shouldn’t have a hard time.

Gunson said, “The judge had promised him on two occasions … “So it was not surprising to me that, when told that he was going to be sent to a state prison … that he did not trust the judge. can or can’t.”

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Polanski’s victim testified before a grand jury that during a photo shoot at Jack Nicholson’s home in March 1977, when the actor was not at home, Polanski gave her champagne and a portion of a sedative, then tried to persuade her to have sex. forced to The girl said that she did not fight him because she was afraid of him but her mother later called the police.

When the girl refused to testify in court, Polanski pleaded guilty to illicit sex with a minor in exchange for dropping charges of drug, rape and sodomy by prosecutors. Since then he has demanded that the case be dropped.

Defense attorney Harland Braun said Friday – in anticipation of the release of the transcript – that the development would renew his attempt to sentence Polanski in absentia, which would end his status as a fugitive from justice.

Braun has tried unsuccessfully before prosecutors insisted and judges agreed that Polanski needed to show up in Los Angeles Superior Court to resolve the case.

The release of the transcript, which was ordered by a California appeals court Wednesday after Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon dropped long-standing objections to its release by his predecessors, backs Polanski’s claims. Maybe he was going to be railroaded by a corrupt judge.

The legal saga has played out as a recurring scene on both sides of the Atlantic over four decades of life marred by tragedy and triumph.

As a child, Polanski escaped from the Krakow ghetto during the Holocaust. His wife, Sharon Tate, was among seven people murdered by followers of Charles Manson in 1969.

Polanski, 88, who was nominated for Oscars for 1974’s “Chinatown” and 1979’s “Tess,” won Best Director in 2003 for “The Pianist.” But he could not accept it as he had to face arrest in America.

France, Switzerland and Poland rejected bids to extradite her back to the United States, and she received acclaim in Europe and continues to work with leading actors. However, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him from its membership in 2018 after the #MeToo movement sparked a speculation about sexual misconduct.

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

Polanski’s attorney, who was in the room during Gunson’s testimony but could not access it in court, has long sought to open that transcript to help with his case.

Braun said Judge Lawrence Rittenband, who is now defunct, was impressed by the publicity in the case and changed his mind several times about the sentencing to Polanski.

Following a report from probation officers that Polanski should serve no time behind bars, Rittenband sent the director to a state prison for a 90-day clinical evaluation to determine what sentence he would face. must face.

The judge said that as long as Polanski receives a favorable report from prison, he will not grant any additional time, Gunson said.
Braun said that after an evaluation of six weeks in prison, Polanski was released with a recommendation that he be on probation only.

But Rittenband thought the probation and prison reports were superficial and “whitewashed,” said Gunson, who agreed that he downplayed or misrepresented Polanski’s crimes.

The judge told Gunson and Polanski’s lawyer privately that criticism in the news media had forced them to be tougher.

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He said he would send Polanski to prison for a longer period, but then release him within 120 days, which was possible under the sentencing rules at the time.

“The Roman says, ‘How can I trust the judge who has lied twice?’ So he leaves for Europe, ”said Braun.

Gunson admitted during his testimony that the judge had discretion to sentence Polanski to up to 50 years because no sentence was agreed upon. But Gunson objected to the “pretend” proceedings that the judge was orchestrating and felt he broke the promises he made to Polanski.

The victim, Samantha Geimer, has long advocated that the case be dismissed or that Polanski be sentenced in absentia. She went so far as to travel from her home in Hawaii to Los Angeles five years ago to urge a judge to “a 40-year sentence that is imposed on the victim of a crime as well as the perpetrator. “

“I beg you to consider taking action to bring this matter to an end as an act of kindness to you and your family,” Geimer said.

The Associated Press doesn’t usually name victims of sexual abuse, but Geimer went public several years ago and wrote a memoir called “The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski.” The cover features a photo shot by Polanski.

Polanski agreed to pay Geimer more than $600,000 to settle a lawsuit in 1993.

Geimer, who has been pressing for a judicial misconduct investigation, in a letter last month urged the DA’s office to seal the transcript and take a fresh look at the case.

Prosecutors have consistently objected to the release of the material, but relied earlier this week to respect Geimer’s wishes and be transparent with the public.

“This case has been described by the courts as ‘one of the longest running sagas in California criminal justice history,'” Gascon said in a statement. “For years, this office has struggled to release information that the victim and the public have a right to know.”

However, the DA did not indicate that Polanski would avoid appearing in court. The press release said Polanski remains a fugitive and must surrender to the court for sentencing.

World Nation News Desk
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