Roman Polanski, the shamed Hollywood director who fled the United States so many years ago, wants to finally resolve his 40-year-old child rape case and fugitive status. With the help of his lawyer, he hopes a plea deal will enable him to return to the United States without fear of custody.
— Peter Swann (@peterswa62) February 20, 2017
The Guardian reported that the fugitive director hopes to return to the United States and is seeking reassurance that he won’t be required to serve jail time over his case that involved unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Polanski is the award-winning director of Chinatown, Tess, The Pianist, and The Ghost Writer, but he’s been a fugitive from the United States for almost 40 years. Now, his attorney, Harland Braun, claims he has reached a plea deal, which will potentially keep Polanski out of prison and allow him to return to the United States. Braun has contacted Judge Scott Gordon, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, asking to unseal a secret transcript of the prosecutor’s testimony in Polanski’s case.
The rape case from 1977 involves the Franco-Polish director drugging 13-year-old Samantha Gailey before raping her at Jack Nicholson’s home in Los Angeles. Gailey now goes under the surname Geimer.
Jack Nicholson & Roman Polanski on the set of Chinatown pic.twitter.com/AXfIIvu80J
— Alex Lu (@aluneg2014) February 18, 2017
Polanski admitted to having unlawful sex with a minor and spent 42 days in Chino state prison, after which time he was released. However, in 1978, Polanski became convinced that the judge was going to overturn the plea deal and give him a long prison sentence, so he fled to France.
In 2009, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland on an extradition request from the United States and spent 10 months under house arrest before the order was rejected by the Swiss authorities. In January of 2015, Poland was again asked by the United States to extradite Polanski, but it was ruled by the country’s Supreme Court in December of 2016 that Polanski had served his time under the plea deal.
Harland Braun is of the opinion that the secret testimony collected in the United States in 2010 from prosecutor Roger Gunson supports the now 83-year-old’s claim that there was an agreement to serve just 48 days and that when taken in conjunction with the Polish decision, U.S. authorities will be convinced that Polanski has served his time
“After we confirm the contents, we will urge the court to recognize the Polish decision resulting from a litigation initiated by the [district attorney] and in which the D.A. participated. If the court accepts the principle of comity, Roman can come to Los Angeles and to court without fear of custody.”
It’s been confirmed by Polanski’s French legal team that he will not be attending the scheduled hearing this week in Los Angeles to discuss the request. After the Polish court had ruled in his favor, Polanski spoke with private news channel TVN24.
Polanski said he was “happy this business is over once and for all.”
“I only regret that I had to wait so long. I’ll finally be able to feel safe in my own country.”
Polanski was born to Polish Jewish parents in Paris in 1933. When the family returned to their native country, his parents were arrested by the Nazis in Krakow’s Jewish ghetto and taken to concentration camps. The young Polanski arrived in Hollywood in 1968 where he directed Rosemary’s Baby, which starred Mia Farrow as an expectant mother carrying the devil’s spawn. The following year, tragedy struck Polanski when his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, and four friends were brutally murdered in his home by cult leader Charles Manson’s followers. It’s Polanski’s wish to visit Tate’s grave in Los Angeles.
— Eternal Sharon Tate (@EtrnlSharonTate) February 10, 2017
Rare People reported that after Polanski was released from spending 42 days in Chino State prison, Judge Laurence Rittenband reneged on the deal, saying he’d decided Polanski should spend up to 50 years in prison. The director fled to Europe, where he spent another 334 days in custody in Switzerland. It was then ruled by a Polish court that Polanski had served his time under the plea deal, and now Braun believes the Los Angeles judge should honor that ruling.
According to the New York Daily News, the 83-year-old fugitive director is hoping for no additional jail time. Braun said that Polanski’s case had recently been reviewed by a Polish court with active participation from Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, at which time it was ruled that the fugitive had served enough time in jail to satisfy his conviction.
Braun told the New York Daily News that it had been determined by the Polish court that Polanski was promised less than 90 days in custody and that the California courts should be convinced the director had already served his time as promised and owed no more time.
On February 6, a letter was sent to Judge Scott Gordon by Braun asking that court transcripts from 2010 be unsealed. In these transcripts, Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson gave sworn testimony about his knowledge of the original proceedings in the Polanski case. It’s Braun’s belief that this testimony will support Polanski’s claim that a formal plea deal had been reached in his rape case.
“The sworn testimony of Mr. Gunson taken together with the Polish decisions raise the question of whether the principle of comity should command or persuade the court to follow the findings of the Polish court.”
A hearing on the matter has been set for this Friday, February 24, and if Braun is successful in convincing the California court to uphold the decision made in Poland, it could well mean that Polanski will return to the United States as a free man. It is understood that his then-13-year-old victim, who now lives in Hawaii, has previously said that she supports an end to his case.
“I have forgiven him and moved on. He pled guilty, served his time, and I’m not quite sure what anyone expects beyond that. That’s satisfactory to me. It should be to everyone.”
— Only Everything (@Click_____Me) February 18, 2017
[Featured Image by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images]