Roman Polanski sex victim to appear in court for first time

LOS ANGELES — The victim of Roman Polanski’s sex assault 40 years ago is going to appeal directly to a judge to end the long-running case against the fugitive director, his lawyer said Thursday.

Samantha Geimer, 13 at the time of the crime, has long supported Polanski’s efforts to end the legal saga that limits his freedom, but Friday will be the first time she’s appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on his behalf, attorney Harland Braun said.

“She’s tired of this case,” Braun said. “The judge is just playing games with him.”

The Oscar-winner has been a fugitive since he fled to France in 1978 on the eve of sentencing for the crime of having unlawful sex with a minor. Prosecutors dropped charges that he drugged, raped and sodomized the girl.

Polanski feared the judge was going to renege on a plea agreement and send him away for more time than the six weeks he served in prison during a psychiatric evaluation prior to sentencing.

His lawyers have been fighting for years to end the case and lift an international arrest warrant that confined him to his native France, Switzerland and Poland, where he fled the Holocaust.

The warrant prevented Polanski from collecting his Academy Award for best director for his 2002 film “The Pianist.” He was also nominated for 1974’s “Chinatown” and 1979’s “Tess.”

Polanski, 83, is trying to get the Interpol warrant lifted so he can move freely among nearly 190 countries in the global policing network. If that happened, the California warrant would still be valid.

Polanski contends he is the victim of judicial misconduct because the now-deceased judge who handled the case suggested in private remarks that he would not honour a plea bargain agreement. It called for no more time behind bars for the director after he spent 42 days in a prison undergoing a diagnostic screening.

The hearing Friday is an effort by Braun to get the court to unseal testimony by the now-deceased prosecutor in the case, who is believed to have testified in a closed session about backroom sentencing discussions.

Braun wants to use the transcript to show Polanski has served his time so the international warrant is dropped. Braun also argues that Polanski served an additional 10 months under house arrest during a failed extradition effort from Switzerland in 2010.

Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee wouldn’t comment on the case Thursday but was expected to file a response to Polanski’s brief.

Prosecutors have vigorously opposed any efforts to end the case without Polanski appearing in court — a position upheld by a state appeals court.

Judge Scott Gordon has rejected Polanski’s efforts to resolve the case in the director’s absence or with a promise that he wouldn’t be sentenced to more time or be arrested if he voluntarily returned for a sentencing hearing.

Geimer has previously said she forgives Polanski for the assault that happened at Jack Nicholson’s compound in the Hollywood hills during a March 1977 photo shoot.

Polanski plied the girl with champagne and part of a sedative pill before raping her, according to grand jury transcripts. Nicholson was not home at the time.

In addition to the criminal charges, Geimer sued her assailant and reached a settlement. Her longtime lawyer Lawrence Silver did not return phone and email messages seeking comment.

The Associated Press doesn’t typically name victims of sex abuse, but Geimer went public years ago.

She wrote memoir titled “The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski” four years ago. The cover features a photo shot by Polanski.

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