Roman Polanski rape case testimony can be unsealed, prosecutor says

Film-maker pleaded guilty to unlawful intercourse with 13-year-old in 1977 but fled the US before sentencing hearing

The Los Angeles district attorney’s office will no longer object to the release of documents in the 45-year-old rape case against the film director Roman Polanski, the office said on Tuesday.

George Gascón, the Los Angeles DA, says his office has reversed its position and asked to unseal the transcripts of the testimony of the former deputy district attorney Roger Gunson as part of an effort to re-examine the case against the 88-year-old film-maker.

“For years, this office has fought the release of information that the victim and public have a right to know,” Gascón says of the case, which he adds has been described by the courts as one of the longest-running sagas in California criminal justice history. “After careful consideration of the victim’s wishes, the unique and extraordinary circumstances that led to [Gunson’s testimony] and my commitment to transparency and accountability for all in the justice system, my office has determined it to be in the interest of justice to agree to the unsealing of these transcripts.”

The director, Gascón says, remains a fugitive from justice and should surrender himself to the Los Angeles county superior court to be sentenced.


Polanski, known for films such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Pianist, admitted in August 1977 to forcing Samantha Geimer, who was 13 at the time, to have sex. The director pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor but fled to France before a sentencing hearing and has been a fugitive from justice ever since.

The film-maker has long sought the release of the transcript, which he believes will help his case and allow him to eventually return to the US without facing arrest.

Geimer, too, has asked for the transcript to be unsealed. In a letter to the DA’s office, Geimer, who has sought to have the case against Polanski dismissed, asked that the office “take a fresh look” at the case and investigate alleged judicial misconduct.

Polanski was married to the actor Sharon Tate and shared a house with her before her murder at the hands of the Manson Family cult in 1969. In the decades since Polanski’s conviction, Hollywood has continued to celebrate him and A-list stars have continued to work with him. Before dozens of women came forward with stories of sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, the powerful film producer wrote a letter in support of Polanski.

In recent years, Polanski, who has admitted his attraction to teenage girls, has faced accusations from at least five other women who say the film-maker assaulted them when they were teenagers. One woman alleged Polanski sexually assaulted her when she was 10.