L.A. judge deals blow to extradition delay efforts

Roman Polanski’s effort to forestall extradition was dealt another blow Monday when a Los Angeles judge rejected his request to unseal recent testimony from the original prosecutor in his 33-year-old sexual misconduct case.

Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza said the release of the recent sworn testimony from retired Deputy Dist. Atty. Roger Gunson was contingent on Polanski returning to the U.S. for a hearing.

Polanski’s attorneys said Gunson’s testimony would bolster their argument that the director had already served his time. They argue that Judge Laurence Rittenband in 1977 sent the director to Chino state prison for a 90-day diagnostic study, but in fact it was really a “guise,” in that it would count as his sentence, as long as the lawyers involved did not reveal this to the press or public. Yet after Polanski was released from Chino after 42 days, Rittenband said he was ready to renege on the commitment and the director fled the country, Polanski’s attorneys argued in legal filings.

Polanski has been under house arrest in Switzerland as authorities there decide whether to extradite him. His attorneys said the information from Gunson’s testimony should weigh on their decision, as they argue that Rittenband’s intended punishment does not meet the threshold for extradition under the terms of a treaty with the U.S.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report. )

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