US judge dismisses Polanski 'lie' claims

11th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Los Angeles judge on Monday dismissed a request by Roman Polanski's lawyers to unseal records they claimed would prove that attempts to extradite the director were based on incomplete information.

Polanski attorney Chad Hummel had argued that it was necessary to release transcripts of closed-door testimony given earlier this year by Roger Gunson, a retired prosecutor who handled the filmmaker's 1970s child sex case.

Hummel claimed in filings last week the testimony would show authorities in Switzerland -- where Polanski is under house arrest and facing extradition to the United States -- that US prosecutors had withheld information in the case.

Earlier this month Polanski broke his silence on the case, saying in a 900-word statement that US authorities wanted his head "on a platter."

Polanski insisted he had served the time agreed and that claims to the contrary in the extradition warrant were false. The testimony by Gunson supported his version of events, Polanski added in the statement.

Hummel argued at a hearing Monday that "no valid interests were being protected" by keeping Gunson's testimony sealed and that unless Judge Peter Espinoza unsealed the documents "information presented to the Swiss by our district attorney is not complete."

However Espinoza rejected the request, stating authorities in Switzerland "have the information they need," to make a decision on Polanski's extradition.

Prosecutors had opposed releasing Gunson's testimony, accusing Polanski of running a desperate public relations offensive in order to try and thwart his extradition to the United States.

"The defendant, lacking both case law and facts in support of his position, and obviously running out of options to avoid extradition, makes completely baseless and reckless allegations apparently orchestrated as part of a public relations campaign, rather than being premised on any legal or factual foundation," Deputy District Attorney David Walgren argued in his 14-page response filed last week.

Walgren said Monday "all defense allegations of misconduct have been fully disclosed" to the Department of Justice and Swiss authorities.

Walgren called for "a full and fair sentencing hearing" at which Polanski would face the results of his "actions" against the "13-year-old child in this case."

Polanski is alleged to have given Samantha Geimer champagne and drugs during a 1977 photo shoot at the Hollywood Hills home of actor friend Jack Nicholson before having sex with her despite her protests.

Polanski was initially charged with six felony counts, but that charge was later reduced to unlawful sexual intercourse in a plea bargain.

He underwent a psychiatric evaluation for 42 days but fled the United States on the eve of his sentencing hearing in 1978, fearing that the judge in the case, who has since died, was planning to go back on a previously agreed deal.

© 2010 AFP

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