Appeals Court Orders Unsealing of Closed-Door Testimony in Polanski Case

A state appeals court on Wednesday ordered the closure of the testimony of a former prosecutor in the criminal case against Roman Polanski. The ruling could eventually close the 45-year-old legal saga.

California’s Second Appellate District issued the order after the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office removed opposition to the removal of transcripts of closed-door testimony from retired prosecutor Roger Gunson. A panel of judges pointed to possible judicial and prosecuting misconduct that would require “remedial action”.

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“Gunson’s conditional statement was a post-evidence hearing of a petition designed to expose these alleged abuses, and we agree that there is no factual or legal basis for the conditional statement transcript to remain sealed,” the order said. reads.

Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, said he would proceed to sentence the director without physically appearing in court.

“If we can get him sentenced in absentia, the warrant will be withdrawn and he can go on with his life,” Braun said. “He will be able to travel outside Poland, Switzerland and France.”

Polanski was arrested in 1977 for raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. She accepted a plea agreement to quash five more serious charges – including rape with the use of drugs – in exchange for pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor. His lawyers expected him to remain in prison for no time and receive probation.

Polanski fled to France after learning that Judge Laurence Rittenband, who initially handled the case in the 1970s and died in 1993, was about to go back on the deal and instead put him behind bars for 50 years. . Polanski has claimed that the judges were unduly influenced by a prosecutor, the press and fear of public backlash for giving him a lenient sentence.

Los Angeles state court judges have consistently denied unheard of Gunson’s testimony. The latest request to open the tapes came from freelance journalists Sam Wasson and William Rempel, who say they intend to investigate the integrity of the courts.

The state’s appeals court said it is “deeply concerned that these allegations of misconduct have not been addressed by a court equipped to take evidence and make a factual determination as to the events of 1977 and 1978.” The judges urged the court and prosecutors to investigate the allegations of misconduct.

Asked if Polanski could serve time in prison for fleeing the country, Braun said, “There’s zero chance because of the statute of limitations.” He also argued that “it was not an illegal flight.”

“We are pleased that the appellate court has agreed with the victim and our office about the need for transparency,” District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “The court’s decision helped us move forward in upholding our responsibility to tell the public the truth and listen to the survivors. We hope this will give him a little reassurance that he will, after all, be running for decades.” There may be some closure in this litigation.”

John Washington, representing Wasson and Rempel, said in a statement that opening Gunson’s testimony is “not about the actions of Roman Polanski” but “the public’s First Amendment right and to know that the judges in our courts and What prosecutors do, and the DA and the court’s limitations in sealing that information in.”

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