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Roman Polanski Seeks To Settle His Statutory Rape Case Once And For All

Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty
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It has been nearly 40 years since Hollywood director Roman Polanski was arrested for (and pled guilty to) statutory rape charges against a 13-year-old female victim. Not a year after his arrest, Polanski fled California to Switzerland, where he has resided (and attempted to be extradited from) ever since. Now, Polanski is hoping to return to the U.S. and settle the case for good.

According to TMZ, Polanski and his attorney, Harland Braun, claim that Judge Laurence Rittenband (who presided over the case) struck a deal with the director in 1977 stipulating that Polanski should only serve 48 days in prison for his crime. Polanski then served 42 days at the Chino State Prison, before being released. Judge Rittenband, apparently, then decided that Polanski should serve a 50-year sentence instead, at which point Polanski fled the country.

In working to settle the case, Braun is asking that testimony from a witness taken in 2010 be unsealed, so that it can be used to support Polanski's claim that he has already served his time.

"Braun's letter seeks the unsealing of testimony from retired Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson, who handled Polanski's case," the Hollywood Reporter writes. "Gunson gave the testimony over three days in 2010 in case he was unable to testify at any future proceedings in the case...Braun contends Gunson's testimony might help Polanski's argument that he has already served his time in the 1977 case by spending more than 300 days in jail and house arrest in Switzerland during a failed extradition effort in 2010."

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“I pleaded guilty. I went to prison. I have done my penalty. The case is closed,” Polanski told the Associated Press in 2015 after successfully fighting an extradition attempt in a Polish court, notes the Los Angeles Times.

Samantha Geimer, Polanski's then 13-year-old victim (she's now in her 50s), has repeatedly called for the case to be dropped. “I'm all right,” she said in 2013. “I was not all right the year after it happened ... but I'm OK now.”