Roman Polanski's lawyer asks judge to give clue on sentence

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 3:40 PM
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 3:39 PM


            FILE - This Feb. 25, 2015 file photo shows filmmaker Roman Polanski during a break in a hearing concerning a U.S. request for his extradition over 1977 charges of sex with a minor, in Krakow, Poland. A judge is scheduled to hear arguments from Polanski's attorney on Monday, March 20, 2017, in the latest effort to bring the fugitive director's 1977 unlawful sex with a minor case to a close. Polanski fled to France in 1978 on the eve of sentencing, and his lawyer is now asking a judge to unseal testimony in the case, and also state whether he believes the Oscar winner has already served his incarceration sentence. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz, File)

Roman Polanski's attorney implored a judge Monday to signal how the fugitive director would be sentenced if he returned to Los Angeles to resolve his long-running underage sex abuse case.

Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon heard arguments in the four-decade-old case but gave no immediate indication of how he would rule, saying he would issue a written order.

Polanski's lawyer, Harland Braun, said he was trying to find a solution for a unique case, while a prosecutor said the Oscar winner was trying to get special treatment and dictate how the case proceeds from afar.

Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee said Polanski needed to appear in court to resolve the charges and urged the judge to reject what she called an attempt to give a "wealthy celebrity different treatment than any other fugitive."

The hearing was the first time in seven years that a Los Angeles judge has considered Polanski's case, which dates to 1977. He was accused of plying a 13-year-old girl with champagne and part of a sedative pill, then raping her at actor Jack Nicholson's house.

Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor but fled Los Angeles on the eve of sentencing in 1978. Since then, his movements have been restricted to France, Poland and Switzerland.

The victim has said she forgives the "Rosemary's Baby" director and believes the case should end.

Polanski, 83, has long contended that he is the victim of judicial misconduct because a now-deceased judge who handled the case suggested in private remarks that he would renege on a plea bargain and sentencing agreement. It called for no more time behind bars for the director after he spent 42 days in a prison undergoing a diagnostic screening.

Braun says Polanski has already served his sentence, in a part due to 335 days he spent in jail and under house arrest during a failed extradition effort from Switzerland in 2010.

The defense attorney pointed to statements by the original lawyers on the case saying the deceased judge had gone back on the sentence he initially promised the director. Braun said he was trying to get an assurance that the original agreement would be honored, either from the judge or prosecutors.

Hanisee refused, and Gordon did not indicate how he would respond. The judge directed several pointed questions about the facts and evidence to Braun during the hearing, and the prosecutor said she thought Braun's calculations about how much time Polanski has served were incorrect.

Braun tried several strategies before and during the hearing but ultimately abandoned an effort to unseal 2010 testimony from the original prosecutor. He said the various approaches aimed to get enough of an assurance for Polanski to return to the United States, hopefully without the need to arrest the director.

"This is a unique case, and I'm trying to fashion a unique solution to resolve the case," Braun said.

Hanisee blamed Polanski for its strange procedural history.

"This case is 40 years old because the defendant fled," she said.

Braun has given a lengthy recitation of allegations of past judicial misconduct in his court filings but said Monday he did not want to litigate those issues.

"You've ventured very far into those things you don't want to get into," Gordon told Braun, smiling.

The judge said that if Polanski wanted to address those allegations in court, it would seem that he would need to personally appear.

Polanski won an Academy Award for best director for his 2002 film "The Pianist" and was nominated for 1974's "Chinatown" and 1979's "Tess."

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This story corrects Roman Polanski's flight from the U.S. to 1978.

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP .

IHOP waiter says he was offered nursing job after helping feed disabled customer

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 3:51 PM

IHOP restaurant sign in Illinois
Scott Olson/Getty Images

A waiter is getting a lot of attention for feeding a disabled customer at an IHOP restaurant.

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For more than a decade, Joe Thomas, 43, has been working at an IHOP restaurant in Springfield, Illinois.

On Saturday, a couple of his regulars stopped in for breakfast. Thomas knows the woman has trouble eating because of a medical issue.

“I always see him stop eating to feed her, and I was like, ‘Heck, if I’m not doing anything, why don’t I go feed her so he can eat and everyone can be happy?’” Thomas told WICS.

He told Buzzfeed News that the woman, identified only as Ma, has Huntington's disease, which makes it difficult for her to use utensils.

“I remember when she was able to walk and feed herself more than she can now,” Thomas told Buzzfeed, noting that he had seen Ma’s condition worsen over the last seven years. “We’ve become good friends, and I’ve grown attached to her. I’m just here to help.”

According to Buzzfeed, Thomas helping Ma eat has become “a standard weekend tradition,” and she usually always orders applesauce, fruit and eggs.

This past weekend, a woman sitting at another table spotted the touching moment and snapped a photo of Thomas’ act of kindness.

She shared the photo with IHOP on Facebook, where it quickly went viral, getting more than 4,500 shares.

Today while visiting your Springfield, IL location on Dirksen I witnessed a very touching moment involving one of your...

Posted by Keshia Dotson on Saturday, March 25, 2017

The woman who posted the photo said her faith in humanity had been restored that day.

Thomas spent some time reading the comments from strangers around the world, who commended him on his kindness.

“It really felt good for somebody to actually see another person is doing something and take notice,” Thomas said. “It felt good, but at the same time I was like I really don’t care for the recognition too much because it’s just something that should automatically be done regardless.”

Thomas told WICS that since the photo was shared, he has received a job opportunity to become a nurse. It’s unclear if he was offered a caregiver position or if he was encouraged to pursue the training and certification needed for medical positions. 

Read more at WICS and Buzzfeed News.

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Human waste found in Coca-Cola cans in Northern Ireland

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 10:37 PM

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Coca-Cola factory in Northern Ireland halted production last week after human waste was discovered in its soda cans, The Guardian reported. 

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Now police are investigating how this could have happened at the Hellenic Bottling Company. 

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The company said none of the contaminated products made it onto store shelves and they impounded the contaminated cans, according to The Guardian. They noticed the problem when machines at the plant became clogged.

“The problem was identified immediately through our robust quality procedures,” Coca-Cola said in a statement. 

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“This is an isolated incident and does not affect any products currently on sale.”

Read more at The Guardian

Ivanka Trump will take official White House role as the assistant to the president

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 9:52 PM

Ivanka Trump (Photo by  Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

After ethics questions were raised about the nature of her role in the White House, Ivanka Trump will officially become an employee of the federal government and will work as the “assistant to the president” for no pay.

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Last week, reports came out suggesting the first daughter would be getting a White House office, security clearance and government-issued phone as an informal adviser without an official job title. Concerns over the unidentified description of her role and potential conflicts of interest prompted Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tom Carper (D-DE) to send a letter to the Office of Government Ethics.

RELATED: Ivanka Trump shared the sweetest message for her youngest baby in honor of his first birthday

“Ms. Trump’s increasing, albeit unspecified, White House role, her potential conflicts of interest, and her commitment to voluntarily comply with relevant ethics and conflict of interest laws have resulted in substantial confusion,” the letter read.

In response, Ivanka Trump provided a statement obtained by The New York Times, in which she addresses the confusion and announced her new position.

“I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees,” she said. “Throughout this process I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role.”

The White House also addressed the news, with a spokeswoman for President Trump saying, “We are pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step in her unprecedented role as first daughter and in support of the president. Ivanka’s service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency and compliance and affords her increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously.”

Video captures terrifying Washington state home invasion robbery

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 9:24 PM

(KIRO7.com)

The Sheriff's office in Snohomish County, Washington, is asking for the public's help to identify two men who robbed an Everett woman on Wednesday morning in her own home.

According to police, the men broke into the home by kicking in the doors.

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Once inside, the two confronted the victim and ripped off her jewelry.

Anyone with information is asked to call at 425-388-5258.