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Roman Polanski’s pending motion before judge Scott Gordon has been continued to June — but it was still an interesting morning Tuesday in the downtown courtroom, featuring both the victim’s complaints and talk of an unofficial copy of a sealed transcript that’s apparently making the rounds.
Polanski’s attorney Harland Braun is trying to clear the way for the 83-year-old Rosemary’s Baby director to return to the U.S. without serving more time behind bars for the 1977 rape of a teen girl. Polanski fled, claiming that the judge at the time planned to increase his sentence from 90 days to 50 years.
Samantha Geimer, who decades ago was the victim in this story, is expressing her outrage over the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. In a letter sent Monday she writes, “You and those that have come before you have never protected me, you have treated me with contempt, using a crime committed against me to further your own careers.”
Deputy district attorney Michele Hanisee told the court Tuesday morning that she received an email from the victim, but she only paraphrased the contents. She says Geimer wants prosecutors to release the transcript of former deputy DA Roger Gunson’s testimony, which Polanski is also currently petitioning the court to do. “The People are not in possession of this transcript,” Hanisee said, expressing concern that Braun has an unofficial copy and asking the court to make him turn it over.
Braun says that the sealing of Gunson’s transcript was illegal, and he plans to argue as much when the matter is heard in June. Gordon declined to issue an advisory opinion that the attorney should turn over any copies he has of the document until then — but noted that Braun is an officer of the court and the judge would deal with it later if the attorney were to share the contents before they’re unsealed.
Meanwhile, Geimer tells The Hollywood Reporter that she has been petitioning the DA’s office to act on her behalf for years and investigate the allegations of misconduct in Polanski’s case, and they have been ignoring her.
“You refuse to investigate the truth, you seek to hide testimony and defame those who produce relevant evidence and facts with accusations of criminal activity, facts you ignore to serve yourselves,” she writes in the letter, which is posted in full below.
Having this loom over her for 40 years has been like a boot on her neck, Geimer says, and now she’s “sickened” that the boot is filled by women. “Victims and those who commit crimes are not just wins and losses, not just notches in your belts,” she writes. “We have all heard that there is a special place in Hell for women who do not help other women, I hope it is true.”
Hanisee on Tuesday sent Geimer a response letter. “With respect to your comments about investigations of misconduct, this office has never ‘covered up’ any misconduct, nor is there, as you suggest, any misconduct continuing today,” Hanisee writes. “As a victim you have a right to notice of the substantive proceedings in the case and to be heard about the substantive proceedings in the case.”
Geimer isn’t the only person involved in the matter who is unhappy with the prosecutors. During the hearing, Gordon said that “in an abundance of disclosure,” Hanisee informed the court that a state bar complaint has been filed against her.
It comes from Allan Parachini, the court’s former public information officer. His reputation, and the circumstances in which he left his job, have become collateral damage in the Polanski matter. Hanisee claims he was fired for taking bribes in exchange for leaking information, and he says that characterization is false. “I trust the State Bar of California will conduct a reasonable, productive and efficient investigation,” Parachini tells THR.
Gordon, for his part, doesn’t think the state bar melee has any relevance to the matters before him.
The deputy DA declined comment on Parachini’s complaint.
Braun had also asked the court to reconsider its decision that, as a fugitive, Polanski isn’t due advanced notice of whether he’d be sentenced to more time if he returned to the U.S. Hanisee described it as an abuse of the judicial system. Gordon denied the motion — which Braun says wasn’t surprising. “We never believed he would have granted it because that would have required honesty and strength of character which he has not displayed,” he says.
A hearing on the motion to unseal Gunson’s testimony for June 9.
April 25, 1:55 p.m. Updated with deputy district attorney Michele Hanisee’s response to Samantha Geimer, and a quote from Harland Braun.
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