Roman Polanski’s lawyer indicated Monday that he’ll renew his request to have the fugitive director sentenced in absentia, a day after a transcript was unsealed that revives misconduct allegations within the director’s 45-year-old rape case.
However the path to resolving the case is under no circumstances simple. Harland Braun, Polanski’s lawyer, mentioned in an interview that he first needs to get a brand new choose to deal with it. Braun said that the present choose, Sam Ohta, can’t be trusted to cope with it pretty, noting that Ohta had initially refused to launch the transcript, which the protection has sought to unseal for 12 years.
“Ohta is nugatory,” Braun mentioned in an interview. “Ohta is all screwed up. I do not belief any choose in LA to hearken to this.”
Braun mentioned he first needs to go to Decide Eric C. Taylor, the presiding choose for Los Angeles County, and finally needs the case transferred to a different county. He additionally argued that beneath COVID guidelines, Polanski needs to be allowed to seem through Zoom from France, as a substitute of returning to the US
Polanski has been a fugitive since fleeing the nation in 1978, simply earlier than he was to be sentenced for having illegal sexual activity with a 13-year-old woman. Polanski’s legal professionals have lengthy maintained that he was the sufferer of misconduct by Decide Laurence Rittenband, whom they’ve accused of reneging on a deal to condemn him to not more than a quick jail keep for a psychiatric analysis.
The newest twist within the case got here final Wednesday, when an appeals court docket granted a request from two journalists — Sam Wasson and William Rempel — to unseal the transcript of a conditional examination of Roger Gunson, the deputy district lawyer who dealt with the case in 1977.
Gunson had participated in “Roman Polanski: Wished and Desired,” the 2008 documentary that delved deeply into these allegations. In 2010, he was examined beneath oath by Polanski’s legal professionals as they sought to have the case dismissed. The examination was supposed largely to get Gunson’s account from the documentary beneath oath, a lot of it merely repeats what has been public information for 14 years.
Polanski pleaded responsible to a single rely in 1977 and was ordered to Chino state jail for a 90-day psychiatric analysis previous to sentencing.
In his testimony, Gunson mentioned that after Polanski accomplished the psychiatric examination in simply 42 days, Rittenband reneged on his promise to condemn him to no extra time. As an alternative, Rittenband mentioned he would ship Polanski to state jail after which have him “recalled” as soon as he had served one other 48 days. Gunson mentioned the choose additionally reneged on an settlement to permit Polanski sufficient time to complete a film he was engaged on.
“It was apparent that the choose had promised him on two events one thing that he reneged on,” Gunson testified. “So understanding that state of affairs, I can perceive why Mr. Polanski didn’t take the prospect of going to state jail and never being recalled.”
Gunson additionally mentioned that he had drafted an affidavit in 1977 by which he laid out causes to have Rittenband faraway from the case. He testified that Rittenband habitually had improper ex parte communications about his circumstances. He additionally mentioned he believed that Rittenband was influenced by media protection of the case.
Gunson famous that prosecutors additionally behaved inappropriately as a result of high-profile nature of the case. The rape occurred at Jack Nicholson’s home and a few prosecutors went alongside when investigators served a search warrant there. Within the examination, Gunson was proven an image of two prosecutors standing in Nicholson’s library, holding his Oscar statuette. (He had received his first greatest actor award for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” two years earlier.) Gunson commented that the photograph was “clearly inappropriate.”
The Los Angeles County District Legal professional’s workplace has lengthy taken the place that Polanski should first return to the US earlier than the case may be settled. However George Gascón, who was elected in 2020, has advised he is perhaps extra versatile about that. Final week, Gascón reversed his opposition to releasing the Gunson transcript, noting that the sufferer within the case, Samantha Geimer, has requested for it to be public within the pursuits of “closure.”
Tiffiny Blacknell, a particular adviser to Gascón, additionally mentioned final week that the workplace would reexamine the case with “contemporary eyes” as soon as they’d a chance to learn the transcript.
“Many individuals are suspicious that one thing untoward occurred,” she instructed Selection. “We share that curiosity and that concern.”
Steve Cooley, who served as DA from 2000 to 2012, blasted Gascón in an interview on Friday, saying it appeared that he had already determined to settle the case in Polanski’s favor.
“Why ought to he get to be sentenced in absentia?” Cooley mentioned. “As a result of he is an Academy Award winner? As a result of he is a terrific director? There is not any exception within the penal code for that. Present up like all people else.”
In an announcement on Monday, the DA’s workplace mentioned it has not modified its place and that Polanski ought to flip himself in.
“We’re nonetheless evaluating the contents of the transcript and haven’t made a closing resolution on any protection request, since no movement has been lately filed,” the workplace mentioned. “Now we have lengthy maintained that Mr. Polanski ought to give up himself to the Los Angeles Superior Courtroom. Any suggestion to the Opposite is fake.”
Polanski’s legal professionals have made repeated efforts to achieve an settlement whereby Polanski might return to the US with out operating the danger of being sentenced to extra custody time. Most lately, in 2017, Decide Scott Gordon denied Braun’s movement for dismissal and a movement to have Polanski sentenced in absentia.
Michele Hanisee, the prosecutor who has appeared in court docket to oppose these requests, declined to touch upon the case on Monday.
“That is nonetheless an open case,” she mentioned. “I can not ethically touch upon an open case.”