EXCLUSIVE: The twists and turns surrounding Roman Polanski’s latest attempt to return to America nearly 40 years after he fled to avoid more prison for the rape of a 13-year-old girl have now put a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney in the spotlight. In a scathing disciplinary complaint to the state bar, Michele Hanisee has been accused of “unprofessional conduct and outright deliberate misrepresentation” by a former court officer she earlier this week accused of taking bribes and violating a court order.
Days before a hearing that could prove the beginning of the director’s jail-free journey back to the U.S., Allan Parachini, a former Public Information Director of the LA Superior Court, has prepared a disciplinary complaint against Hanisee that claims he was tainted with “egregious and damaging allegations.” At the same time, to muddy matters more, Polanski lawyer Harland Braun now wants the upcoming April 25 hearing on unsealing old testimony from a former Deputy DA pushed back due to new information and portions of testimony he recently received from European officials.
Parachini, in his April 20 date filing to the state bar, wrote of Hanisee, “Her filing includes numerous scurrilous, unprofessional and inaccurate charges against me personally, which, to my knowledge Ms. Hanisee made absolutely no effort to verify or investigate.” (read it here)
In Hanisee’s April 18 filing (read it here) to the court, Parachini was accused of taking brides, possessing “stolen” emails and violating a court order.”
“They are potentially catastrophically damaging to my reputation,” says the now Hawaii-based Parachini of the claims in his declaration to Hanisee’s opposition to the unsealing of ex-Deputy DA Roger Gunson’s 2010 testimony about Polanski.
That testimony, desired by Polanski and Braun, allegedly reveals a scrapped deal that would have seen the director behind bars for less than 90 days decades ago for the March 10, 1977 rape of then-minor Samantha Gailey. Later that year, Polanski pleaded guilty on five charges stemming from having sex with the teen. After spending 42 days in a men’s facility in 1978, the director raced off to France when he heard the presiding judge was going to put him in jail for up to 50 years – and Europe is where he has resided ever since despite repeated efforts to make a deal or extradite him.
L.A. County D.A. Jackie Lacey’s office told Deadline that Hanisee “cannot comment on this since Polanski remains an open case.” The complaint comes just a couple of days after the prosecutor accused the Chinatown helmer of trying to “manipulate” the judicial system and being the “criminal version of a vexatious litigant” in his renewed efforts to come back to the U.S. and not face jail time.
“On page 4 of her filing, Ms. Hanisee suggests …that I provided the materials to Polanski’s counsel while I was still employed by the court,” reads Parachini’s April 20 complaint of that opposition paperwork “She offers no proof of this, nor could she since the assertion is provably erroneous.”
The longtime ex-LASC media flack was suspended and then pink-slipped in 2010 amid rumors of inappropriately providing material to journalists in that round of the Polanski court saga. The complaint has not yet been formally placed “in the possession of the state bar,” a source tells Deadline but that could change in “the next few days.”
“In the same paragraph, she suggests that Mr. Hummel paid or compensated me in some way for providing these materials to him,” the complaint does say in reference to Chad Hummel, a lawyer for Polanski during the unsuccessful 2010 effort to extradite the director from Switzerland. “Again, she offers no proof. Again, she couldn’t because this never occurred. She has taken this opportunity to, effectively, perjure herself and demean the office of the District Attorney.”
Any disciplinary action by the state bar can range from what is essentially a slap on the wrist to the fairly rare extreme of full disbarment, depending on what the required investigation reveals. Investigations usually take around six months but could go as long as a year.
With this being a complaint against a high-profile member of the D.A.’s core team, sources tell me an investigation into the matter could move fairly quickly.