Judge tentatively rules to keep original prosecutor’s deposition under wraps
Roman Polanski is learning the hard way that in a California court, "No" really means "No."
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza on Monday rejected Polanski's motion to unseal testimony from the original prosecutor in the director's case, slamming the door on Team Polanski's standing strategy for fighting extradition.
Roger Gunson, who prosecuted Polanski in 1977 for the rape of a 13-year old girl, gave his testimony under seal — to be used in the event that he is unable to appear in court due to bad health. Polanski's lawyers want to open it, with hopes of mining a prosecutorial misconduct vein, saying in a Friday filing that Swiss authorities are working with "false and materially incomplete" information.
The district attorney maintains that pushing the misconduct strategy while Polanski is still in Swiss custody is “entirely meritless” because the court has exhaustively determined that he needs to be in the United States to take it further.
They've also said the move was a clear sign the director was “running out of options to avoid extradition," and emphasized that Swiss authorities have been given everything they need to move forward — including an open invitation to request additional materials.
But in a weekend interview with a Swiss newspaper, Switzerland Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said she was assuming personal responsibility for the outcome of Polanski's case, adding that Swiss authorities were still finalizing documents they need to examine whether they're required to extradite Polanski.
Told by TheWrap of Widmer-Schlumpf's statements, a person close to the Polanski defense team replied: "We're looking into that."
Monday's sequence of events was looking more like time running out on Polanski, who fled the U.S. in 1978 after learning that the sentencing judge planned to impose time beyond what he'd already served for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
As the calendar approaches a year since his arrest at the airport in Zurich, all interested parties are showing fatigue with the protracted battle.
"We continue to be bogged down," an obviously exasperated Espinoza declared, "on whether or not (Polanski) will return."
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