Why Polanski Lives Over There

Director's Vanity Fair libel case revisits 1977 sex charges

Roman Polanski

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Why Polanski Lives Over There

JULY 20--With Roman Polanski currently pursuing a libel action against Vanity Fair in a London court, the director has come under fire from the magazine's attorneys, who have portrayed him as a habitual liar and a "fugitive from morality," a cutting reminder of how Polanski fled the United States in the face of a rape charge.

Polanski is suing the magazine over a 2002 story that reported he tried to seduce a model on his way to the funeral of wife Sharon Tate, who was killed in August 1969 by followers of Charles Manson. Polanski, 71, has called the Vanity Fair account an "abominable lie" that dishonored his memory of Tate.

In advance of their cross-examination of Polanski, Vanity Fair lawyers succeeded in getting a judge to unseal the long-secret 1977 transcript of the Los Angeles grand jury that indicted the filmmaker. The key witness during that proceeding was Samantha Gailey, the 13-year-old California girl who Polanski plied with Champagne and a Quaalude in a Mulholland Canyon home owned by Jack Nicholson.

According to her testimony, which you'll find here, Gailey said that her abuse began after she posed naked in a Jacuzzi for Polanski, who said the images were for French Vogue. The girl left the Jacuzzi after a naked Polanski wrapped his hands around her waist.

Gailey testified that when she retreated to a bedroom, Polanski sat down beside her and kissed her, despite demands that he "keep away." Polanski, she said, then performed a sex act on her and eventually "started to have intercourse with me." Later, Gailey recalled, Polanski asked, "Would you want me to go in through your back?" before he "put his penis in my butt."

Asked why she did not more forcefully resist Polanski, who was 43 at the time, the teenager told Deputy D.A. Roger Gunson, "Because I was afraid of him." (37 pages)