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D.A. Opposes Roman Polanski’s Bid to Unseal Transcripts

Variety logo Variety 3/2/2017 Gene Maddaus
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The L.A. County D.A.’s office Wednesday filed its objections to Roman Polanski’s latest legal maneuver, holding to its position that the director’s decades-old rape case cannot be resolved while he remains a fugitive.

Polanski is seeking to unseal a 2010 transcript of Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson, who prosecuted the 1977 case. Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, wrote a letter Feb. 6 to Judge Scott Gordon urging him to make the document public. Polanski’s lawyers have argued that he was the victim of judicial misconduct, and the transcript would help them pursue a motion to bring the case to a resolution.

Polanski served nearly a year of house arrest at his Swiss chalet in 2010, while the D.A.’s office unsuccessfully sought his extradition. Braun contends that he should be sentenced to time served and allowed to return to the U.S.

In her motion, Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee argued that Gordon should stick with the rulings of earlier judges, who have rejected Polanski’s efforts to unseal the transcript.

“It is the People’s position that resolution of this case requires the presence of the defendant,” Hanisee wrote.

Braun also argued that the court should take notice of a ruling in Poland in December, which again rejected Polanski’s extradition.

“The courts of Poland and Switzerland are not courts of higher jurisdiction, they have no jurisdiction to litigate California criminal cases,” Hanisee wrote. “[T]hey have no authority to mandate how the Superior Court of California will issue sentencing credits in a California criminal case.”

Polanski’s attorneys have been trying to resolve the case for 20 years. In her motion, Hanisee suggested that Polanski could return to the U.S. and argue for a light sentence, or withdraw his guilty plea and seek a trial.

“What he cannot do is dictate outcomes from afar while insulating himself from any potential adverse consequence,” she wrote.

Gordon is set to hear arguments on the matter on March 20.

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