Former prosecutor admits lying about judge reneging on plea deal for Polanski

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I’ve been following the Polanksi case, but we haven’t been covering it as much because it’s the kind of entertainment story that veers into the realm of hideous crime. It’s also something that upsets me immensely when I consider all the apologists this guy has. Polanski drugged, raped, and sodomized a 13 year-old girl when he was 43. In case you’re one of those people who believe that it was somehow consensual, which still makes the disgusting assumption that a 13 year-old could ever give consent, read the girl’s testimony on The Smoking Gun. She said “no” several times and asked to go home. She even said that her asthma was acting up and that she needed to go home to take her medication. The victim is now a 45 year-old mother of three and is urging the DA’s office to dismiss the case, but just because the victim doesn’t want the crime prosecuted doesn’t mean that long-delayed justice shouldn’t be served. Just because the guy is an accomplished director who has some high-profile high-influence friends doesn’t mean that the case should be dropped, either. And just because his pregnant wife was murdered it doesn’t give him a pass to rape little girls. Polanski also had a relationship with a then-15 year-old Natassja Kinski in the years following his wife Sharon Tate’s murder.

In my opinion, Polanski’s only chance for a dismissal of his case involved potential judicial misconduct, as alleged in the 2008 documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. Polanksi served 43 days in prison on a psychiatric evaluation in 1978 before escaping for the high life in France. A prosecutor on the case made the allegation that the judge reneged on a plea deal that was offered at the time. The thing is, that prosecutor is now claiming that he lied and that the judge, who is now deceased, never offered Polanski a plea deal. It looks like this case just got a hell of a lot more cut and dried. The guy committed a crime and fled the country, end of story:

A former prosecutor says he made up a story he told a film crew about advising a judge handling Roman Polanski’s sex case to send the director to prison.

In “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” David F. Wells is depicted as conferring with a trial judge more than 30 years ago about Polanski’s case. Wells said in the documentary that the judge took his advice in deciding to renege on a plea bargain and give Polanski additional prison time.

“I made that up to make the stuff look better,” Wells said.

He also said he overstated his actions after being told the film would air in France, not the United States. The film aired on HBO.

Wells’ statement on the documentary later became part of the basis for a move by Polanski’s attorneys to dismiss the case against the fugitive director, who was arrested in Switzerland on Saturday.

Wells, who retired more than two years ago, did not handle Polanski’s case but was assigned to the courtroom where it was heard and had frequent interactions with the now-deceased trial judge Laurence J. Rittenband.

“They interviewed me in the Malibu courthouse when I was still a DA, and I embellished a story,” Wells said about the film crew in an interview with The Associated Press Wednesday. “I’m a guy who cuts to the chase – I lied. It embarrasses the hell of me.”

Wells said he was sorry about making the comments for the documentary.

“I cost the DA’s office a lot of money and aggravation over this,” Wells said.

Polanski was accused of plying a 13-year-old girl with champagne and part of a Quaalude during a modeling shoot in 1977 and raping her. He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy.

He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse; in exchange, the remaining charges were dropped, and the judge agreed to send Polanski to prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation.

But Polanski was released after 42 days and fled the country for France before sentencing after the judge reportedly told lawyers he planned to add more prison time.

Polanski’s attorneys later argued in a motion to dismiss the case that the communications between the judge and Wells were clear misconduct and violated Polanski’s constitutional rights.

[From The Washington Post]

A haughty editorial by Polanski’s longterm friend and collaborator, British novelist Robert Harris, was published in the NY Times on Tuesday. Harris suggested that Polanski was being pursued now due to the 2008 documentary defending him, and made the ridiculous statement that so many people looked up to him so he should somehow be beyond justice. “His past did not bother me, any more (presumably) than it did the three French presidents with whom he has had private dinners, or the hundreds of actors and technicians who have worked with him since 1977, or the fans who come up to him in the streets of Paris for his autograph.”

There’s a very well argued rebuttal in the Huffington Post by author Andy Ostroy, who picks apart Harris’ claims and makes it clear why Polanski faces extradition for an over 30 year-old crime:

The simple truth is, Roman Polanski is a pedophile, which is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as someone with a sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object. There is nothing in this definition that mitigates this behavior. Nothing regarding how often the adult has sex with a child; whether or not the mother was negligent; how long ago the crime occurred; or whether the sexual abuser has any Oscars for filmmaking. Polanski’s a pedophile and a fugitive, and it’s time, after 30 years, that he finally face justice.

It is outrageously offensive to see the outpouring of support for Polanski from the world’s elite artist-class. Are there two sets of laws according to these people? One for artists and another for everyone else? And are we supposed to be influenced by what these apologists have to say in trivializing Polanski’s despicable acts, especially Woody Allen, who married his own stepdaughter after raising her since childhood? Shame on them all.

[From The Huffington Post]

If this guy goes free now, after committing a heinous crime and leaving the country, it will be yet another example of money and power escaping justice. I thought justice was supposed to be blind, but I guess she can still be distracted by a good movie.

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40 Responses to “Former prosecutor admits lying about judge reneging on plea deal for Polanski”

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  1. barneslr says:

    Anyone who defends this sick SOB is beneath contempt. It doesn’t matter that his victim-now an adult-has forgiven him. That’s between her and him. The fact remains that he committed a crime by having sex with a child and then fled justice. Who knows how many other children he has raped since then?

    Just because he has managed to evade the law for decades doesn’t give him a free pass. He needs to do his time, just like any other pedophile.

    What a disgusting, horrible excuse for a human being. And so is anyone who thinks he should be let off the hook.

  2. Lita says:

    The part of this I would like to know is why after all this time he was arrested. Nothing to do with the crime itself; I just don’t get why he skated by all this time until now. It seems like there is an undercurrent. And the gossip in me wants to know!

    Nothing to do with the fact of there being a crime but the way I understood it was that the mother was not negligent so much as partly cuplable – encouraging and foisting a young girl, unchaperoned, at Jack N’s house in the 70’s, on a guy with a known predeliction for the young girls.

  3. mollyb says:

    I read as much of that horrible testimony as I could. The fact that anyone could brush off the rape & sodomy of a 13 year old by saying her mother was negligent and shouldn’t have left her alone there in the first place or worse, that the child wasn’t even a virgin (i.e. had been raped before) is disgusting. It was heartbreaking in her testimony that she misunderstood the word “cunnilingus” as “cuddliness”, which just underscores how young she was when this violation occured. I hope he rots in prison.

  4. DD says:

    I noticed that a lot of Polanski defenders keep saying that we should honor the victim’s wishes. I’ll bet you the reason she doesn’t want Polanski to serve his time is more about all these defenders who blame her for trashing this genius. I know I would be mortified if the person who assaulted me was this famous, beloved guy. It’s like being the victim all over again.

  5. Hieronymus Grex says:

    *Insert a self-righteous comment to show my outrage here, because if I don’t, someone might think I support child m*lest*rs or some superstitious nonsense like that.*

    Now off the soapbox and back to the real world, the prosecutor has just muddied the water even further by lying and it’s going to make an effective prosecution by a current court even harder.

  6. Popcorny says:

    Is there a list of these high profile/celebrity defenders of this pedophile?
    Now, I get the technical “difference” between Michael Jackson and Polanski is that Polanski pled guilty … but even if Polanski hadn’t plead guilty, he’d still be the pedophile he is -same as Michael Jackson is (a dead pedophile).
    But, OH what a massive drive it was, by celebrities and civilians alike, to give Jackson a “free pass” -no matter how many trials, the evidence and payoffs to little boys (who could describe Michael right down to his erect penis).
    I wonder if the difference, for civilians, is “how much do they like the artist’s material” -like that one poster who came in “glad” that Polanski skated because that poster got to see “the Piano”. To that poster, justice and the peril of children didn’t matter as long as he/she got “something out of it” for themselves.

  7. sarah says:

    It doesn’t matter if the victim wants this to die. She is now a witness to a crime. This is why battered women are merely witnesses to their spouses’ crimes – because they often change their minds. Even if he only gets probation, he should absolutely face justice for these acts. He even admitted that for a long time, he didn’t see anything wrong with what he did in a Diane Sawyer interview. I’m not surprised that Woody Allen defends him either.

  8. mila says:

    I do believe that people change. I think he’s different person than he was years ago, when he was a drug addict, alcoholic and a trainwreck. BUT I also believe in responsibility and atonement. He should face his dark past and face the consequences of his terrible, unexcusable deed.
    I think he’s a great director, The Pianist was the most emotional. moving movie I’ve seen. I don’t want Polanski to rot in jail but I want him to get suitable punishment, cause that’s justice.
    I don’t think that he’s a “technical”paedophile- that is a person that lusts after child’s body cause Samantha didn’t look like a child BUT she was still a child so in the end he did commit a paedopholic act.

  9. April says:

    I can’t believe all these people who are defending him. He raped a young girl. It’s sick that Hollywood seems to think it is ok. I am boycotting all stars that have signed that ridiculous petition in attempts to free a rapist. I will no longer go to their movies, I will not buy products they endorse and I will not purchase any magazine that puts the face of a rape supporter on the cover. What the Hollywood community is doing is disgraceful and offensive to all victims of rape. Their actions are telling the world that rape is not a crime and raping a child is not a big deal. Shame on Hollywood!! Here is a link of all the supports that have signed the Free Roman Polanski petition.

  10. vic says:

    @Hieronymus Grex: Attacking self-righteousness by being, uh, self-righteous. Please, pot meet kettle. People are merely expressing their opinion, unlike you who are trashing commenters. I think the reason most of us are so adamant in our disgust is the fact that so many entertainers and public figures are defending this creep.

  11. Hieronymus Grex says:

    5 weeks from now you’ll forget, April- so don’t make promises you can’t keep or vows you won’t follow through on just to show your displeasure. It won’t make a wit of difference in their lives or yours. If it displeases you this much, write a carefully thought out letter to an appropriate government body or legal personage attached to the case and let your thoughts be known and possibly acted upon by those with the power to actually affect the outcome.

  12. Popcorny says:

    I think it benefits greatly if a person boycotts something they’ve taken a stand against.
    It may not affect the entity that the stand/boycott is against -but it certainly enhances an individual personally /within.
    It’s (re)affirmation, courage of conviction, etc., =character/character builder.
    I missed that there was a petition (list!) -thank you, April, for that link.

  13. bros says:

    spot on hieronymus. this whole thing is just ridiculous. nothing is going to happen because this case is now shit-the grandstanding judge (many journalistic pieces have converged on the side of the guy being a complete jackass and misappropriating justice all over the place in order to get publicity for himself) and now a lying prosecutor. this case is 30 years old, fraught with legal problems from day 1, and impossible to try cleanly at this stage in the game. and if polanski is up for grabs, so should this woman’s mother be, since she was complicit in it, and probably had been before as well. this is just stupid and a waste of time at this point.

  14. Lenore says:

    Lita – I’ve wondered the same thing: why has it taken so long, and why now, when he’s been in Switzerland so many times, lives there part of the year, why arrest him now?

    This article gives some additional details regarding the arrest – it seems that simply having an extradition treaty in place is not enough, the US had to issue a specific warrant prior to arrest – meaning that they would have to know when he would be in the right place in advance. This is why he’s been able to take private, unpublicised holidays in Switzerland without being arrested.

    Unfortunately though the article hints at a 2005 libel case as being the spur behind the new pursuit of Polanski, it doesn’t clarify this point or explain why he wasn’t being actively pursued before that…

  15. Rosalee says:

    Yes Bro, stupid and a waste of time to convict a man who committed a heinous crime against a child, maybe you should read the thirteen year old girl’s testimony on the Smoking Gun website on how a 42 year old man put his penis inside a 13 year old child after she said “no”, after she said she wanted to go home and after she said she was sick..maybe you believe it is a waste of time but thankfully there are other who do not and will write letters and will make phone calls and will let their official elected representatives know how strongly they feel about this situation. Maybe writing to these artist’s gents, managers or hollywood studio heads and explaining that the directors and actors who defend this individual are being viewed as unsavory, simply because they have forgotten in their zeal to defend this man that he had sex with a child against her will.

  16. bros says:

    you do that rosalee. in the meantime, watch this circus side show go down in smoke because it is going to be impossible to have a clean trial. he will have very good lawyers and worse crimes have gone unpunished and worse offenders have been acquitted. im just being a realist about the possibility of justice being carried out, not excusing his crime. I hope you write your elected officials and make phone calls about the millions of uninsured, the other crimes that take place against women in this country on a daily, systemic basis, protecting women’s rights of another kind, and while youre at it, write them about mass rapes in the Congo and Sudan. there are issues of abuse and rape on mass scale, and I wonder if everyone boycotting movies or hollywood has lifted a finger about these current large scale abuses.

  17. Birdie says:

    I’m with Vic on this one…. very succinct rebuttal, I approve wholeheartedly!

    I simply don’t think there is a defense for this heinous of a crime. Polanski was treated unfairly in the sense that he’s been able to avoid prosecution for so long! If any one of us was guilty of this same crime, we wouldn’t be able to flee to France and live a life of carefree luxury. The double-standard that all these ‘apologists’ believe in really appalls me. Polanski is a rapist. A pedophile. By his own admission he has acted on his sick impulses. I don’t see what there is to defend here.

  18. Aurelian says:

    Bros, Hieronymus Grex: There is no muddied waters, because THERE WILL BE NO TRIAL. He has already PLED GUILTY. There will be a sentencing, and he will go to jail. It’ll be a judge, Polanski and his lawyers, and his lawyers will get to say basically nothing.

    That’s it. No testimony, no arguments, nothing. He waived his right to a jury trial and entered a plea of guilty. Court transcripts of him entering that plea can be found at the Smoking Gun.

  19. Rosalee says:

    Bros, I do, everyday in a professional capacity and a personal one.

  20. Luci says:

    I agree with you!
    good that sb speaks clearly about this stuff

  21. Kevin says:

    Wow this issue is so complicated, I hope in the end the right decisions are made.

  22. barneslr says:

    “I don’t want Polanski to rot in jail but I want him to get suitable punishment”

    Um, what other punishment do you think is suitable for child rape?

    Unless you meant the death penalty, which I am entirely in favor of for child rapists.

  23. Diane says:

    Polanski fled when he learned he might receive more than the 42 days of time he had served under pysch eval.

    Judge’s are not required to accept a plea bargain. This agreement is between defense and prosecution, and the defendant made aware of this.

    Polanski committed a felony offense when he fled. He has had 32 years to return to CA and appear before the court and chose no to do so.

    If he is extradited, he’ll be sentenced in a CA court, while motions by the defense are being filed to dismiss. Bail won’t be an option, he’s proved to be a flight risk.

    I believe he’ll receive a light sentence, 1 year or more, serve a brief time and be permanently deported.

    Most of us in California, by 10-1, believe he is guilty of, “statutory rape,” the charge he pled out to and should spend time in jail.

  24. BitterBetty says:

    99% of the petitioners are French and Woody Allen so no surprise there. but Tilda Swinton and Monica Bellucci? are they that desperate for a part in his next shitfest movie? ugh.

  25. princess pea says:

    There will be a trial. Because he broke the law when he fled, and he hasn’t confessed to that or been sentenced for it.

    I find it interesting how many people I see using a line like “If any one of us was guilty of this same crime, we wouldn’t be able to flee to France and live a life of carefree luxury.” This sounds like… jealousy? You wanted to rape kids and you can’t and that’s why you’re mad?

    Anyway, I’m avoiding commenting on any other aspect of this case. Like plague-style avoidance here. But I’m enjoying watching you fight, so keep it up.

  26. mila says:


    I wasn’t clear in this sentence. What I meant is that while I don’t wish him jail cause he’s my grandma’s age now I want justice to be served and if it means imprisonment so be it.

  27. bros says:

    but princess, you always have good comments. dont hold yourself back!

  28. Cheyenne says:

    Oh boy. I can see it now. Polanski demanding a new trial on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct and the witness, who doesn’t want him prosecuted, forced to testify at a new trial. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode.

  29. Iggles says:

    I don’t think he’s going to get a new trial. He plead guilty and that will stand. What he will have a trial for is illegally leaving the US while he was out on bail. He deserves to rot.

    This is such a bad precedent! What does it say about the US that we allow foreigners to commit crimes and flee back to their home countries unscathed? After 32 years it’s time to make an example out of this guy. The only question is will the CA district attorney have the balls to do so?

  30. the truth says:


  31. anna says:

    Polanski is a coward. He left the US because he didn’t want to serve a reported 47 days in jail!

    All this brouhaha over 47 days… what a frickin waste of police/federal monies – Polanski should serve his 47 days in a federal pen, known as a guy who doesn’t see anything wrong with drugging and sodomizing a 13 year old girl AND be forced to pay restitution for the resources that were squandered by the courts, police, etc. while he lived in his swiss chateau.

    A talented pedophile is still a pedophile.

  32. girl says:

    @Mila. So yes technically he isn’t a pedophile, pedophiles being those sexually attracted to pre-pubescent children. He is a euphibophile (I KNOW I screwed up that spelling) since she was pubescent.

    So effing what? Most of the priests who where embroiled in the whole molestation scandal could also be described as such. It matters not a hill of beans wheter she had achieved adolescence or not. She was RAPED. Why does that statement need constant repeating? RP can rot in jail with the rest of the filth who sexually assault children. May God have mercy on their souls because I sure as hell don’t.

    (and yes I am Catholic but I have no illusions that what those bastards did was evil, maybe even more so when they used a child’s concept of God to violate them physically and emotionally)

  33. audrey says:

    The survivor of the assault has stated that she wants charges to be dropped because she is sick of her experience being so publicly exposed and discussed, NOT because she thinks that it is over and done with.

    Personally, I don’t blame her. If the jerk would have taken responsibility for his actions and served his time, this woman would not be harassed by the public 30+ years later. At least, not nearly to the extent it is right now.

    And shame on all the apologists who signed that petition – Wes Anderson, I’ll miss paying for your movies.

  34. girl says:

    The rape and fleeing the country are 2 separate crimes. I would imagine they would be treated as such with a trial occuring for fleeing before his sentencing. So yes, there would be a trial but no there would be no trial over the issue of the rape. Unless the conviction was overturned.

    Just my non-expert opinion.

  35. ElizabethM says:

    The absolutely darling Abigail Breslin is 13 years old. I wonder how elitist Hollywood would feel if they woke up tomorrow to the news she had been drugged and raped by one of their own.

  36. oh my says:

    @bitterbetty some of the Spanish actors who are very popular here in the US including, but not limited to Penelope Cruz, also signed

  37. Gigohead says:

    He is now going to spend a lot of time in the Swiss jail. He was better off doing the 47 days over 30 years ago.

    I’m glad he’s caught. He is not above the law because he’s “brilliant” director as his Hollywood pals call him.

  38. fizXgirl314 says:

    wow, people are sick… let’s hope our 13 year old sisters, daughters and granddaughters don’t get raped by disgusting pedophiles… unless, of course, he’s an artist… then that would make it totally alright…

    so sick!

  39. Velvet Elvis says:

    If this guy were Joe Shmo, the janitor down the street…would these celebrities be defending him?? Hell no.

  40. whitedaisy says:

    The dude has pled guilty; they should put him away.
    No more Penelope Cruz movies…….