A California appellate court ordered the unsealing of transcripts related to the decades-old sexual assault case against director Roman Polanski after Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón sent a letter to the court rescinding his opposition to their release, the DA’s office announced Wednesday.
Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. He fled the country to France before a sentencing hearing and remains a fugitive.
CNN has reached out to his representative for comment.
In 2014, Samantha Geimer, the victim in the case, requested the court unseal the transcripts of then-Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson’s deposition and investigate alleged judicial misconduct. Geimer has been notified of the court’s decision, the district attorney’s office said.
“My request has repeatedly been denied. I’ve been told that Mr. Polanski must surrender himself to the American authorities in order to have the misconduct in this case investigated. Further, the testimony must remain sealed unless there is an investigation. I believe this answer is disingenuous,” Geimer wrote to the LA district attorney’s office last month as she pushed for the release of information.
“This case has been described by the courts as ‘one of the longest-running sagas in California criminal justice history,” Gascón said in a statement on Tuesday. “For years, this office has fought the release of information that the victim and public have a right to know. After careful consideration of the victim’s wishes, the unique and extraordinary circumstances that led to his conditional exam 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.”
In a 2010 interview with CNN, Geimer said she did not want to deal with the media circus surrounding the director if he were to ever return to the US and she thought the judge in Polanski’s case had been dishonest with him.
“We are pleased the appellate court agreed with both the victim and our office about the need for transparency,” Gascón said in response to the decision. “The court’s decision helped us move toward upholding our responsibility to tell the public the truth, and to listen to survivors. We hope it gives her a small measure of assurance that eventually, she can have some measure of closure in this decades-long litigation.”
The office is unsure when or how quickly the court will unseal the documents.
The district attorney said Tuesday that he would no longer object to unsealing the transcripts and filed a request with the court asking for their release.
“The Gunson deposition was effectively a post-plea evidentiary hearing on judicial and prosecutorial misconduct – rather than a conditional examination to preserve the testimony of a victim or witness for trial – and the safety issues frequently present in cases where conditional examinations are used are not present in this case,” Gascón said in his filing. “Thus the transcript should be unsealed.”
CNN has sought comment from Gunson.