DAILY BEAST: So what was the claimed impropriety that got the DA’s office to scrape off 30 years of rust and start the wheels grinding? A backroom chat in 1977 between prosecutor Wells—not the prosecutor assigned to the case—and Judge Laurence Rittenband, during which the judge asked how he could get out of the deal that’d been made for no additional time and send Polanski back to prison. Supposedly, Wells told him how.
If true, that’s an ethical violation, no question about it. It’s absolutely forbidden to have one-sided communications with a judge about a pending case. Still, Wells denies he ever had the backroom chat with Judge Rittenband. “No. It never happened,” he said flatly. “All that happened was I brought the newspaper with the picture of Polanski at Oktoberfest [in 1977, before his 42-day evaluation] into court and handed it to the bailiff. I told the bailiff, ‘Here, give this to the judge.’ Did I know it would tick him off? Yeah. It ticked me off. Polanski was thumbing his nose at everyone.”
But didn’t Wells say in the documentary that he’d privately told the judge how he could legally send Polanski back to prison? “I lied. I know I shouldn’t have done it, but I did. The director of the documentary told me it would never air in the States. I thought it made a better story if I said I’d told the judge what to do,” Wells said. Why on earth? “Look, after 30 years, I never thought they’d get the guy back here. I figured no one cared anymore, and no one here would ever see the film anyway. What can I say? I don’t have a better reason than that. It seemed like a good idea at the time.” MORE
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Roman Polanski rushed up to the British Airways counter at LAX in late January 1978 with an American Express card and an urgent desire to get out of town. He bought the last seat on an overnight flight to London and 15 minutes later, he wrote in his autobiography, watched Los Angeles gradually disappear out a jet window. The criminal case that Polanski was fleeing never went away, as his recent arrest in Zurich attests. But how a Los Angeles court would restart the case if Switzerland extradites the film director, 76, is a question complicated by the passage of decades and recent allegations of judicial misconduct. The district attorney’s office contends the yellowing case file only needs dusting off and proceedings should pick up exactly where they left off in 1978 — with a judge sentencing Polanski for a statutory rape charge. “He will appear before the court and the court will decide what his sentence is,” said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office. Legal experts, however, said Polanski has options beyond begging for leniency. There are a number of legal maneuvers, such as withdrawing his guilty plea, that could result in the case being dropped entirely or in a sentence of no prison time. MORE
SALON: Roman Polanski raped a child. Let’s just start right there, because that’s the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in “exile” (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never — poor baby — being able to return to the U.S.). Let’s keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she’d rather not see him prosecuted because she can’t stand the media attention. Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let’s take a moment to recall that according to the victim’s grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, “No,” then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm. MORE
WIKIPEDIA: On August 8, 1969, Tate was two weeks from giving birth. She entertained two friends, actresses Joanna Pettet and Barbara Lewis, for lunch at her home, confiding in them her disappointment at Polanski’s delay in returning from London. In the afternoon Polanski phoned her. Her younger sister Debra also called to ask if she and their sister Patti could spend the night with her, but Sharon declined. In the evening she went to her favorite restaurant, El Coyote, with Sebring, Frykowski and Folger, returning about 10:30 p.m. During the night they were murdered by members of Charles Manson‘s “Family” and their bodies discovered the following morning by Tate’s housekeeper, Winifred Chapman. Police arrived at the scene to find the body of a young man, later identified as Steven Parent, shot to death in his car, which was in the driveway. Inside the house, the bodies of Tate and Sebring were found in the living room; a long rope tied around each of their necks connected them. On the front lawn lay the bodies of Frykowski and Folger. All of the victims, except Parent, had been stabbed numerous times. The coroner‘s report for Tate noted that she had been stabbed sixteen times, and that “five of the wounds were in and of themselves fatal”. MORE