Victim Asks Judge to Drop Sexual Assault Case Against Fugitive Director Roman Polanski

Samantha Geimer, 13 at the time of the crime, has long supported Roman Polanski's efforts to end the legal saga

Roman Polanski won't take his chances to return to court to resolve his sexual assault case, so his victim is standing up for him. 

Samantha Geimer, who was 13 at the time of the crime, was in a Los Angeles courtroom to appeal directly to a judge Friday to end the long-running case. Geimer, 54, has long supported Polanski's efforts to end the legal saga that limits his freedom, but Friday will was 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 judge said he will issue a written ruling, but he didn't indicate when.

Geimer spoke about the crime, the decades-long legal process and her motivation for stepping forward outside the courtroom.

"It wasn't as traumatic for me as everyone would like to believe it is," Geimer said Friday outside the courtroom. "I understood much worse things happen to people. I just was not as traumatized as people think I should have been.

"This is the first opportunity I've had to come to court and talk, so I figure I'd take it because I thought it would be my last."

Geimer told reporters she has "empathy" for Polanski, noting that he is now facing the same type of insults she endured in the early days of the 1977 unlawful intercourse case.

"It was a much different story -- I was a drug-dealing Lolita that cornered him into this, and I was lying and I made it all up -- so that's what I dealt with," Geimer said. "Now he endures it, because now everyone calls him a pedophile and says terrible things about him which aren't true. The insults have switched, but I have empathy for the way he was treated because I was treated the same way when this first happened."

On her way into court, she told reporter she was "terrified."

The Oscar-winner has been a fugitive since he fled to France in 1978 on the eve of sentencing for 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 most of the 190 countries in the global policing network. If that happened, the California warrant would remain 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 honor a plea 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 was 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 urged the court to reject Polanski's latest efforts, saying two previous judges and an appeals court have ruled against him.

"The people implore this court to deny defendant's motions and to summarily deny any future request to re-litigate these issues absent a showing of new facts or a change in circumstance," Hanisee wrote.

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.

"Everyone's entitled to their opinion," Geimer said Friday. "I was there, I know what happened.

"Since I've come forward, it's much less scary."

Geimer sued Polanski and reached a settlement in 1993 for $500,000 that included over $100,000 in interest payments. 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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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