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Roman Polanski seeks safe return to U.S. to visit Sharon Tate’s grave

by Kelly Hartog

Polanski fled the United States 40 years ago

After living overseas for decades, Roman Polanski is now seeking to return to the United States — as a free man. 

According to Variety, Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, sent a letter to an L.A. Superior court judge on Feb. 6, asking him to unseal transcripts from Polanski’s 1977 rape case, seeking access to the 2010 testimony of Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson, who was the prosecutor on the rape case.

TMZ reports that Braun believes Gunson’s secret testimony supports the now 83-year-old director’s claim that the judge singed off on a deal that he serve only 48 days behind bars for raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977, which the judge agreed to.

Polanski served 42 days in Chino State Prison, but then fled to Europe before his sentencing in 1978. At the time, it Polanski reportedly feared his plea deal would be cancelled. He currently lives in Paris.

In 2009, Los Angeles prosecutors tried to extradite Polanski after he was arrested in Switzerland and placed under house arrest. However, Switzerland refused to honor the extradition request.

Polanski also has Polish citizenship, and in December, a Polish court rejected another extradition. That court also ruled Polanski had already served his time under the plea deal.

Braun is calling on the Los Angeles court to recognize the Polish court’s ruling. TMZ reports Polanski wants to be able to travel freely, and to visit his late wife Sharon Tate’s gravesite in Los Angeles. Tate was murdered by Charles Manson followers in 1969. She was eight months pregnant with the couple’s first child.

The rape victim, who is now in her 50s, has also asked the courts to close the case — she has said in interviews that she felt the case was sensationalized by the media, and that she has long moved on with her life.

 

Photo: Associated Press

Kelly Hartog is a journalist, editor, author, ghostwriter and book coach. She’s lived in England, Australia and Israel but now calls Los Angeles home, where she lives with her adorable Golden Retriever Bronte (named after Charlotte, not Emily).