There is a chance to reopen a court case 45 years ago regarding the accusation of Roman Polański of raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. Los Angeles County Attorney George Gascon agreed to declassify the interrogation of Roger Gunson, the Assistant Attorney who charged Roman Polanski in 1977. Polański’s lawyers have long demanded the disclosure of his testimony.
In 1977 Roman Polański he was arrested and a bill of indictment against him was brought by prosecutor Roger Gunson. The director then heard a number of allegations: drug rape, perversion, lewd and indecent sexual act with a child under the age of 14, and sexual intercourse with a minor contrary to American law. The incident took place at Jack Nicholson’s estate on Mulholland Drive.
Polański confessed to having sex with a minor, and the girl’s family dropped the remaining charges to spare her pain. The director was sent to a state prison for a 90-day observation, which was supposed to be a punishment for him. When he was released from there 42 days later, it upset Judge Laurence Rittenband, who – despite an earlier settlement – began to publicly threaten that he would “lock him up for 100 years”. The director, who could in fact face up to 50 years in prison, without waiting for the end of the trial, first left for Great Britain, and then for Francewhere he was born and has French citizenship.
The prosecutor changes his mind
Now, Los Angeles County Attorney George Gascon has announced that the Attorney’s Office has changed its position and will no longer object to the declassification of the 2010 hearing of Roger Gunson, the prosecutor indicting Roman Polanski in 1977.
Gunson testified then at the request of Roman Polański’s lawyer, Harland Braun. It happened after the prosecutor appeared in Marina Zenovich’s film “Roman Polański. The wanted and wanted”. A request for disclosure of the testimony, however, was denied by a Los Angeles court in 2017. Anyway, the court, as it were, “automatically” rejected all requests from the director’s lawyers for decades. It was similar with a request to testify without having to come to USA.
The testimonies favorable to Roman Polanski confirm the truthfulness of his information on “inappropriate actions” – as Gunson calls them – by judge Laurence J. Rittenband. They were the reason for his escape from the United States in 1978, before his sentence was pronounced.
Since then, 88-year-old Roman Polański has lived in France. His return to the US would result in immediate imprisonment.
With a fresh eye
In a statement, prosecutor George Gascon explained that his decision to disclose the transcript was influenced by Samantha Geimer, a victim in a case that has been seeking its dismissal for years. Gascon’s office also released a letter it received from Geimer on June 20, requesting that the transcript be released and “revisit the case.” Geimer, 58, forgave Polański long ago and repeatedly appealed to stop prosecuting him.
“I believe it is in the public interest not to hide court misconduct,” wrote Geimer. “As a victim in this case, I deserve to know the whole truth,” she added.
And District Attorney Tiffina Blacknell’s adviser told Variety that the Polanski case needed a “fresh look”. – Suspicions around this case have been circulating for 40 years. Many people suspect that undesirable effects occurred during it. We share these concerns, she announced.
Roger Gunson’s position is known to the public primarily from the famous documentary by Marina Zenovich, “Roman Polański. Wanted and Wanted”. He then accused Judge Rittenband of violating the rights of the Polish director, both before his escape to Europe and afterwards. He also alleged that the judge had broken the law by rejecting the agreed settlement under the influence of tabloid publications and a desire to gain publicity through the case. Gunson also confessed that the judge’s superiors prevented him from being removed from the case.
It is not known whether declassification of Gunson’s testimony will actually lead to the reopening of Polanski’s case before an American court. It is also unknown whether their content will be made public. The lawyer of the Polish director revealed, however, that after hearing the ruling of the prosecutor Gascon, the Polish director “was delighted”. He has been talking for a long time that he wants to come to America to visit his wife’s grave, Sharon Tate was murdered in 1969.
Geimer forgave him, the director was threatened with extradition
In 1993, the director made an official settlement with Samantha Geimer, which was to receive half a million dollars in compensation from him. Soon, the woman publicly forgave him and has been making constant calls for the closure of the case ever since.
In September 2009, Polański was arrested in Zurich in Switzerlandwhere he came to collect the award. It looked like an extradition would take place and the director would be sent back to America. Eventually, he was arrested for three months and spent another seven under house arrest in his home in Gstaad. The Swiss decided that they would not send him back to America.
It was then that James Fox wrote a high-profile article in Vanity Fair, noting that “this is probably the only one where defense and sacrifice are on the same side: against the judge.” Has there really been a real chance of closing it this time?
“Variety”, Deadline.com, tvn24.pl
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