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Prosecutors on Wednesday urged a judge to reject Roman Polanski’s effort to unseal testimony in his long-running sex with an underage girl unless the fugitive director returns to a Los Angeles courtroom.
The filing argues that Polanski remains a fugitive and other judges have already ruled to keep the testimony sealed based on requests by former lawyers for the Oscar winner.
Polanski’s attorney filed the motion last month seeking to unseal the testimony of the first prosecutor who handled his 1977 unlawful sex with a minor case.
Polanski’s lawyer Harland Braun has said the testimony could be crucial in resolving the case and getting Polanski to return for sentencing if he has assurances he won’t have to do additional time behind bars.
A hearing in the case is set for March 20.
The filmmaker fled to France in 1978 on the eve of sentencing when the now-deceased judge in the case suggested in private remarks that he would renege on a plea bargain and sentencing agreement.
Polanski’s travel has since been restricted to France, Poland and Switzerland. Authorities in Poland and Switzerland have rejected efforts to return Polanski to the U.S. in recent years.
Prosecutors contend nothing has changed and that previous rulings by California judges that Polanski must return to Los Angeles for sentencing remain valid.
“The defendant has many options before him if he returns” to Los Angeles, Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee wrote in the Wednesday filing. She stated Polanski could argue for time served, appeal previous rulings or withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial.
“What he cannot do is dictate outcomes from afar while insulating himself from any potential adverse consequence,” Hanisee wrote.
Braun has argued that the recent extradition efforts have led to Polanski serving more than 300 days in jail or home confinement, and that he has served his sentence.
Polanski wants to unseal testimony from retired Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson, who originally handled his case. Gunson gave the testimony over three days in 2010 in case he was unable to testify at any future proceedings in the case.
Polanski won an Academy Award for best director for his 2002 film The Pianist, and also was nominated for 1974’s Chinatown and 1979’s Tess.
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