Documents relating to Roman Polanski’s 45-year-old sex-abuse case will be unsealed as prosecutors agree to ‘take a fresh look’ after victim sent a letter for the case to be dismissed
- Roman Polanski has been a US fugitive since 1978 after pleading guilty to raping Samantha Geimer when she was 13-years-old
- LA County District Attorney George Gascón agreed to unseal case documents
- DA’s office will release transcript of ex Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has agreed to unseal a transcript relating to the criminal case against Roman Polanski, which could could end a decades-long legal saga over the director’s rape of a teenager 45 years ago.
Gascón announced that the DA’s office would allow the transcripts of former Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson, who prosecuted Polanski, to be made public – a marked reversal from Gascón’s predecessors who have sought to keep the testimony secret.
Gascón said the decision came following a letter from Samantha Geimer, the victim in the 1977 case, who has sought for years to have the case dismissed.
Geimer was 13 years old when Polanski pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her in August 1977 but the filmmaker fled the United States to France before a sentencing hearing. He has lived as a fugitive abroad ever since.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has agreed to unseal a transcript relating to the criminal case against Roman Polanski (left), which could could end a decades-long legal saga over the director’s rape of a teenager 45 years ago. Gascón said the decision came following a letter from Samantha Geimer (right), the victim in the 1977 case, who has sought for years to have the case dismissed
Gascón (pictured) announced that the DA’s office would allow the transcripts of former Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson, who prosecuted Polanski, to be made public – a marked reversal from Gascón’s predecessors who have sought to keep the testimony secret
Geimer said Polanski, who was then 43, took her to the house of actor Jack Nicholson for a photo shoot where he plied her with champagne and a Quaalude pill before raping her. Nicholson was not at home at the time.
The DA’s office released a letter it had received from Geimer on June 20, in which she asked that the transcript be unsealed and that the office ‘take a fresh look’ at the case and conduct an investigation into alleged judicial misconduct.
‘This case has been described by the courts as ‘one of the longest-running sagas in California criminal justice history,’ Gascón said.
‘For years, this office has fought the release of information that the victim and public have a right to know.
‘After careful consideration of the victim’s wishes, the unique and extraordinary circumstances that led to his conditional exam and my commitment to transparency and accountability for all in the justice system, my office has determined it to be in the interest of justice to agree to the unsealing of these transcripts.’
Gascón added that Polanski, known for films such as The Pianist and Chinatown, remains a fugitive from justice and should surrender himself to the Los Angeles County Superior Court to be sentenced.
Geimer has previously said she believes details of her 1977 case are being kept under wraps because both the district attorney and the court want to ‘cover up their own misconduct.’
Geimer was 13 years old (pictured) when Polanski pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her in August 1977 but the filmmaker fled the United States to France before a sentencing hearing. He has lived as a fugitive abroad ever since
She told TMZ in 2017: ‘I’m all for the truth getting out. He’s apologized. I forgive him. I know that he’s sorry and he didn’t mean to hurt me.
‘And he’s admitted what he did. He went to jail. I’m not going to carry a bunch of resentment. And much worse things have happened to people, so I feel like bad things happen.’
Polanski himself has sought for the testimony from Gunson as he claims it will reveal an agreement with Judge Laurence Rittenband in 1977 which stated Polanski only had to serve 48 days in jail for the rape.
Under the terms of the deal, Polanski admitted to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
Following his arrest in 1977, He spent 42 days in China State Prison before he was released.
Polanski, 83, has spent the past 40 years on the run following allegations he raped Geimer, who was 13 at the time, in 1977.
The director, who has Polish and French nationality, said Judge Rittenband reneged on the deal and insisted Polanski should spend 50 years behind bars.
Polanski claims the time in state jail along with almost a year he spent on remand in Switzerland while fighting extradition more than covers the original 48-day term stipulated in the deal.
The director was married to actress Sharon Tate, and shared a house with her before her murder at the hands of the Manson Family cult in 1969.
From sexual assault accusations to the murder of his wife: Who is Roman Polanski?
Roman Polanski, a French-Polish director whose films have won eight Oscars, has been a fugitive from the US since 1978.
He was arrested and charged with drugging and raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977.
He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sex with a minor before undergoing 42 days of psychiatric evaluation in prison while awaiting sentencing.
Once he learned the judge planned to give him a prison term, he fled to Paris and has been avoiding extradition ever since.
Pictured is a scene from Polanski’s 1974 film, Chinatown
Polanski was born in Paris in 1933 but moved back to Poland with his Jewish parents in 1936.
Three years later the family were trapped in Krakow as Nazis invaded Poland.
His parents were taken during raids, leaving Polanski to be brought up by the foster care system while using a different identity to evade Nazi capture.
In 1965 he directed his first feature-length film, Knife in the Water, before directing three more films in the UK.
He moved to the US in 1968 where he directed psychological horror film Rosemary’s Baby and gained status.
Pictured is a scene from Polanski’s 2005 film, Oliver Twist
In 1969 he was struck by tragedy when his then pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered along with four friends by the Manson family.
He has been married to French actress Emmanuelle Seigner since 1989.
After Sharon Tate’s death Polanski returned to Europe and carried on his career until 1974 when he went back to America to direct Chinatown.
Although he was known as a convicted rapist, Polanski’s career continued to blossom after he fled America in 1978.
He returned once more to Europe where he became famous for directing films such as The Pianist (2002), a film about a Polish Jew who was trying to avoid Nazi capture, and Oliver Twist (2005).
Pictured is a scene from Polanski’s 2002 film, The Pianist
In 2009 he was arrested by Swiss officials when he went to the Zurich Film Festival.
His arrest sparked a backlash from Hollywood stars and Harvey Weinstein, who 80 women have accused of sexual assault, started a petition demanding Polanski’s immediate release.
The ‘We demand the immediate release of Roman’ petition was signed by the likes of Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese and Tilda Swinton.
In 2017 two women came forward to accuse Polanski of sexual assault, Renate Langer claimed he raped her when she was 16 in 1972.
And Marianne Barnard claimed he molested her and photographed her naked when she was 10 years old in 1975.
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