13 Jul 2022

Roman Polanski Rape Case Transcripts Can Be Unsealed, US Attorney Says

Prosecutors in Los Angeles said Tuesday they will no longer block the release of sealed transcripts in Roman Polanski's statutory rape case — documents the fugitive director previously said could expose judicial misconduct.
George Gascon, the Los Angeles County district attorney, said his office "decided it was in the interest of justice to agree to unseal these transcripts."

"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 fought against the release of information that the victim and the public have a right to know."

While it is not known exactly what the transcripts contain, they include testimony from former Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson, the first prosecutor to handle Polanski's case.

In 1977, French-Polish director Polanski was arrested after 13-year-old Samantha Gailey accused him of giving her drugs and champagne and violently sodomizing her.

In an effort to spare the child a trial, prosecutors dropped the most serious charges in the plea agreement, with Polanski pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

He served 42 days in jail while undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

When it became clear that Judge Laurence Rittenband should have reconsidered and handed down a much longer prison sentence, Polanski fled to France, where he still lives.

The "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown" director has not returned to the United States since and was involved in a decades-long cat-and-mouse game with officials seeking his extradition before a global audience divided between continued outrage and forgiveness. for his actions.

According to Gasconsky's statement, Polanski first requested that the transcripts be unsealed "several years ago" in order to "conduct an investigation into alleged judicial misconduct."

Gascon also described the circumstances in which Polanski was initially treated by prosecutors as "extraordinary," adding that his office is committed to "transparency and accountability for everyone in the justice system."

The Hollywood Reporter said the new request to see the transcripts did not come from Polanski, but from two journalists.

Gailey publicly forgave Polanski in 1997, saying her treatment by the press and the justice system was worse than the original crime.

She also previously called for the transcripts to be unsealed.

But Gascon's statement ends: "Polanski remains a fugitive from justice and should surrender to the Los Angeles County Superior Court for sentencing."

In recent years, Polanski - now 88 - has also been accused of other historic sex crimes by various women.

He denies the charges, for which the statute of limitations has expired.

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