Court documents in Polanski criminal case ordered released
An appeals court on July 13 ordered the unsealing of some documents in the criminal case against renowned director Roman Polanski, who has been a fugitive since pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl decades ago, a California prosecutor announced.
The court ordered the unsealing of the conditional deposition transcript of Roger Gunson, who was the original prosecutor in the Los Angeles County case, the county district attorney’s office said.
A call seeking comment from Polanski’s agent in Los Angeles, Jeff Berg, wasn’t picked up Wednesday night.
Polanski, 88, who won a best director Oscar for “The Pianist” in 2003, remains a fugitive after pleading guilty in 1977 to unlawful sex with a minor and fleeing the United States for France on the eve of sentencing the following year.
In a 2010 interview with CNN, the victim, Samantha Geimer said thought the judge in Polanski’s case had been dishonest with him.
In 2017, Geimer appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom to ask a judge to end the case, calling it a “40-year-sentence” imposed on both her and the director. The request was denied.
Polanski has long argued that there was judicial misconduct in his case. In 2010, a Los Angeles court took sealed testimony from Gunson about his recollections of promises made to the director by the judge in 1977.
Polanski’s lawyers had long sought the unsealing of that testimony, believing the transcript might help their case and eventually allow Polanski to return to the U.S. without fear of arrest.
Geimer, who has pressed for investigation of alleged judicial misconduct, also had asked that the transcript be unsealed and in a letter last month, she urged the DA’s office to take a fresh look at the case.
The office had objected to releasing the material for years but rescinded its objection earlier this week, saying it was heeding Geimer’s wishes.
“Finally, after decades of waiting, the victim had her request granted and her voice heard,” the DA’s office said in its statement.
“We are pleased the appellate court agreed with both the victim and our office about the need for transparency,” District Attorney George Gascon said in the statement. “We hope it gives her a small measure of assurance that eventually, she can have some measure of closure in this decades-long litigation.”
According to the DA’s office statement, Geimer was notified of the decision and was grateful, stating, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”