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Judge Denies Roman Polanski’s Bid to End 40-Year-Old Rape Case

Variety logo Variety 4/3/2017 Gene Maddaus
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A judge on Monday rejected director Roman Polanski’s latest effort to resolve his 40-year-old rape case.

In a 13-page ruling, Judge Scott Gordon found that Polanski cannot put the case behind him so long as he refuses to return to the U.S. and submit to the court’s jurisdiction.

“Polanski cannot avail himself of the court while standing in contempt of it,” Gordon wrote.

California courts have repeatedly held that Polanski cannot litigate the case from afar.

The famed director fled the U.S. in 1978, after pleading guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl. Polanski’s attorneys have alleged that Judge Laurence Rittenband engaged in misconduct by reneging on a pledge not to sentence Polanski to prison time.

Polanski is a citizen of France, and is not subject to extradition there. The L.A. County District Attorney’s office has repeatedly sought to extradite him when he travels to other countries, without success.

Polanski has sought to resolve the rape case, also without success. The latest effort followed a decision in December by the Polish Supreme Court to deny extradition. Resolving the case would allow the 83-year-old director to travel more freely and to return to the United States.

Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, told Variety that Gordon’s ruling ignored his contention that the presiding judge of the L.A. court system engaged in misconduct when he issued “secret marching orders” to the trial courts to rule against Polanski in an earlier bid to dispose of the case.

“They will not even mention the emails” regarding the presiding judge, Braun said. “It’s never over until someone comes to grip with the emails.”

The district attorney’s office declined to comment on the ruling.

Gordon set another hearing for April 26 to rule on Braun’s effort to unseal transcripts of Roger Gunson, the original prosecutor on the case.

 

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