A California appeals court on Wednesday ordered the disclosure of certain documents in the criminal case against famed director Roman Polanski, who has been on the run since pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. years ago, a California prosecutor announced.
The court ordered the unsealing of the transcript of the conditional deposition of Roger Gunson, who was the original prosecutor in the Los Angeles County case, the county attorney’s office said.
There was no immediate word, however, on when the documents would be made public.
A call seeking comment from Polanski’s agent in Los Angeles, Jeff Berg, was not taken Wednesday night.
But Harland Braun, Polanski’s attorney, told the Los Angeles Times that his client was “thrilled” with the 2nd District Court of Appeals order.
Polanski, 88, who won the Best Director Oscar for ‘The Pianist’ in 2003, remains a fugitive after pleading guilty in 1977 to unlawful sex with an underage girl and fleeing the United States for France on the eve of his sentencing the following year.
France, Switzerland and Poland have rejected extradition offers to the United States and he continues to be celebrated in Europe, earning praise and working with major players.
However, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him from its membership in 2018.
During Polanski’s trial, the victim said that during a photo session at Jack Nicholson’s house in March 1977, when the actor was not at home, Polanski gave him champagne and part of a sedative , then forced her to have sex despite her objections. The girl said she didn’t fight him because she was afraid of him, but her mother then called the police.
But in a 2010 interview with CNN, the victim, Samantha Geimer, said she thought the judge in the Polanski case had been dishonest with him.
In 2017, Geimer appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom to ask a judge to end the case, calling it a “40-year sentence” for her and the director. The request was denied.
Polanski has long maintained that there was miscarriage of justice in his case. In 2010, a Los Angeles court took sealed testimony from Gunson about his recollections of promises made to the director by the judge in 1977.
Polanski argued that Gunson’s transcript would show that LA County Superior Court Judge Laurence Rittenband intended that after pleading guilty, Polanski would only serve a 90-day evaluation in state prison. . The director was released after just 42 days, but the judge then added another 48 days and Polanski fled.
Polanski’s attorneys had long sought to uncover the testimony, believing the transcript could help their case.
Braun told the Times that after getting the transcript, he will ask that Polanski be given time served, which could allow him to return to the United States without fear of arrest.
Geimer, who has been pushing for an investigation into alleged judicial misconduct, had also called for the transcript to be unsealed and in a letter last month she urged the prosecutor’s office to take a fresh look at the case.
The office had opposed the release of the material for years, but overruled its objection earlier this week, saying it was considering Geimer’s wishes.
“Finally, after decades of waiting, the victim got his request and his voice was heard,” the prosecutor’s office said in its statement on Wednesday.
“We are pleased that the appeals court has agreed with the victim and our office on the need for transparency,” District Attorney George Gascón said in the statement. “We hope this gives her a little reassurance that she can eventually bring this decades-long litigation to an end.”
According to the statement from the prosecutor’s office, Geimer was made aware of the decision and was grateful for it, saying, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”