Roman Polanski criminal case transcripts ordered released, court rules

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A California appeals court on Wednesday ordered the unsealing of a conditional deposition transcript to be opened in the criminal case against director Roman Polanski, who pled guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl decades ago.

The deposition transcript is Roger Gunson’s, the former prosecutor in the case who retired in 2002, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Los Angeles District Attorney was formerly opposed to unsealing the documents but lifted its opposition Tuesday.

“The conditional deposition of Gunson was a post-plea evidentiary hearing designed to uncover these alleged abuses, and we agree with the People that there is no factual or legal basis for the conditional deposition transcript to remain sealed,” the order read.

The request to unseal was submitted by journalists Sam Wasson and William Rempel, arguing alongside their lawyer, John Washington, that state law and public interest required Gunson’s testimony be unsealed. Gunson was ill at the time of the testimony and it was feared he would not be well enough to testify in any adjudication of the case.

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“Over the years, this long-suppressed document has contributed to considerable legal confusion and conflicting assumptions about the court’s conduct. As journalists and historians we hope this ruling finally helps to clarify the public record,” Wasson and Rempel said, Washington told Fox News Digital.

Washington said he expects the records will be made public soon but has not been notified of a concrete date.

“At any rate we hope with the DA’s concession and this order the DA will in the future respect the right of access of the public rather than require journalists and authors to fight it out,” Washington told Fox News.

Director Roman Polanski appears at an international film festival, where he promoted his film, “Based on a True Story,” in Krakow, Poland, on May 2, 2018. A California appeals court on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, ordered the unsealing of some documents in the criminal case against Polanski, who’s been a fugitive since pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl decades ago.
(AP Photo/File)

“This case has been described by the courts as ‘one of the longest-running sagas in California criminal justice history,'” Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said in a press release. “For years, this office has fought the release of information that the victim and public have a right to know.”

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It is the belief of several in support of unsealing Gunson’s testimony that the transcript would reveal the original presiding judge, Laurence Rittenband, had violated law and court standards in abandoning a plea deal with Polanski as a result of media reports and ex parte contact with the DA’s office, according to Deadline.

Fox News reached out to Polanski’s lawyer, Harland Braun, for comment but did not immediately hear back.

Roman Polanski, 84, was arrested in March 1977 for a number of offenses and currently remains a fugitive as he fled to France while awaiting sentencing in February 1978.

Roman Polanski, 84, was arrested in March 1977 for a number of offenses and currently remains a fugitive as he fled to France while awaiting sentencing in February 1978.
(REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

Polanski has been a fugitive since 1978 after having pled guilty in his sex case. His victim testified that Polanski gave her champagne and a sedative during a photo shoot and proceeded to have sex with her despite her objections.

The deposition transcript is Roger Gunson's, the former prosecutor in the Roman Polanski case who retired in 2002, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  The Los Angeles District Attorney was formerly opposed to unsealing the documents but lifted its opposition Tuesday.

The deposition transcript is Roger Gunson’s, the former prosecutor in the Roman Polanski case who retired in 2002, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Los Angeles District Attorney was formerly opposed to unsealing the documents but lifted its opposition Tuesday.
(AP, File)

Polanski fled the US for France prior to sentencing. Switzerland and Poland previously rejected bids to extradite him, allowing the filmmaker to work in Europe.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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