Roman Polanski has been avoiding getting extradited to the United States for years now, but it’s really starting to cramp his style. He wants to settle things once and for all.
TMZ reports that Polanski’s lawyer, Harland Braun, has petitioned a L.A. County Superior Court judge to unseal transcripts that have supposedly been kept secret since Polanski was charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977. The transcripts allegedly contain testimony from the prosecutor in the case that indicates Polanski made a plea deal to serve only 48 days in prison, a deal he claims the judge in the case agreed to.
The judge, Laurence Rittenband, reneged on the plea, according to Polanski and his lawyers. Judge Rittenband publicly told prosecutors that he wanted Polanski to serve 50 years in prison. A dual citizen, Polanski fled the United States in 1978 and has moved between France and Poland ever since. One failed attempt at extradition landed him under house arrest in Switzerland in 2009 for almost a year.
If the transcript revealed that Rittenband did indeed agree to a plea deal, it might lift these restrictions and allow Polanski to travel freely again. It would not undo the damage to his reputation, of course, and though we should never doubt that rich white men will find a way to rehabilitate their careers no matter what they do, he’ll likely face some difficulties. In late January, for example, Polanski was “deeply saddened” by the protest lodged against his presence at the César Awards. Polanski may end up free to travel again, but he’ll find few warm welcomes.