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Polanski team lose bid to unseal transcript

A United States judge has rejected a request by Roman Polanski’s lawyers to open sealed testimony which they hoped would help their fight against his extradition.

Lawyers for Polanski said the dossier contained secret transcripts of testimony by retired US Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson which would prove the extradition request was based on false and incomplete statements by the Los Angeles district attorney's office.

Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza said that the only circumstance in which the material would become public was if Polanski returned to the US for a hearing and Gunson was unavailable to testify in person.

Polanski’s lawyers had argued that Swiss authorities should have the testimony to assist in their decision whether to extradite Polanski who is under house arrest at his Gstaad chalet.

But the judge noted in a written ruling that Swiss Justice Ministry officials said the transcripts "are irrelevant for the extradition proceedings". Swiss Justice Office spokesman Folco Galli has said that the justice ministry must work on the assumption that the extradition request is based on correct statements.

The French-Polish director was taken into custody on September 26, 2009, in Zurich under an international arrest warrant. The 76-year-old is wanted in Los Angeles for sentencing in a child-sex case that began in 1977.

A California judge has denied a request to sentence Polanski in absentia, clearing the way for him to be returned to the US. Swiss officials have been waiting for the California proceedings to end before moving the case forward themselves.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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