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Roman Polanski Says He’ll Return To LA If No More Jail Time For 1977 Rape

Deadline logo Deadline 3/11/2017 Dominic Patten
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Ten days before his lawyer squares off against the Los Angles County District Attorney’s Office in a downtown hearing that could open the door to Roman Polanski returning to the U.S., the director’s legal representative today basically demanded the courts put up or shut up.

“Mr. Polanski asks this Court to acknowledge that he was promised a specific custody portion of his sentence by Judge Rittenband and he has more than fulfilled the custody portion of his sentence under the principle of comity, California law and the admissions by the District Attorney to the Polish Court,” said a motion filed Friday by attorney Harland Braun in Los Angeles Superior Court. “With such assurance by this current Court, Mr. Polanski will return to Los Angeles to be sentenced,” the paperwork adds of the 1977 rape of a 13-year-old girl.

Braun promises that if his client is assured that he’ll see no more jail time, the 83-year-old Polanski will absolutely come back to America and deal directly with the fugitive warrant that’s been out for him since he fled the U.S. in 1978. The hope by Polanski’s side is that the Polish-born and France-residing filmmaker will get some probation and then have the weight of American justice finally off his long self-exiled back

Polanski skipped town late one night 19-years ago after coming to believe that a judicial promise was about to be reneged on. The deal would have meant the controversial Chinatown director would only spend 90 days in a psychiatric evaluation lock-up for admitting his misconduct, to put it mildly. Having already been convicted on five charges stemming from having sex with then-13-year-old Samantha Gailey on March 10, 1977, Polanski was informed that Judge Laurence Rittenband had a change of heart and wanted to throw him behind bars for up to 50 years.

This latest salvo in the nearly 40-year case comes as the February 16 request by Polanski’s side to unseal an ex-deputy prosecutor’s 2010 testimony in the matter would be argued before L.A. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon on March 20. Roger Gunson’s testimony is believed to contain information on that initial agreement and Rittenband’s shift on the matter after Polanski had already spent over 40 days in a facility. After the office of L.A. County D.A. Jackie Lacey rejected opening the sealed material at the beginning of this month, Polanski’s lawyer, “abandoned” that effort.

Still desiring that hearing in 10 days just under a different pretense, today’s filing is the newest and latest avenue in trying to get the legal system to bend to the Oscar winner’s will in the matter.

Part of Braun’s argument for his client is that U.S. courts should give credence to information in a December 2016 decision by Poland’s Supreme Court to uphold a previous ruling by a lower court there that rejected a 2015 extradition request by the U.S. Besides the Polish courts rulings, the last 10 years has also seen a prolonged and botched 2009 case to extradite Polanski to face American justice, back when Steve Cooley was still L.A. County D.A. In 2014, Alan Dershowitz unsuccessfully attempted to have the Polanski case dropped for the director.

Now we will see if there is any string left to pull in that matter March 20.

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