MoS secures exclusive with key witness in Polanski trial

By Dominic Ponsford

US publishing giant Condé Nast and its army of lawyers failed to
persuade the key witness in the Roman Polanski libel trial to take the
stand.

But within 24 hours of her name being said in court, The Mail on
Sunday had tracked her down at her Oslo home and signed her up for an
exclusive interview.

The libel trial centred on the false claim
in a Vanity Fair article that film director Polanski had tried to
seduce Beatte Telle in a New York café on the way to the funeral of his
murdered wife Sharon Tate.

Condé Nast had been unable to persuade
Telle to testify. But if it had managed to speak to her, it would have
saved itself millions of dollars in legal fees, because she denied the
incident had ever taken place.

Mail on Sunday deputy editor Rod
Gilchrist said: “Condé Nast is a massive international company with
some of the world’s biggest celebrity magazines and probably the
biggest-selling magazine in America, Vanity Fair.

“The whole case
hinged on whether what Vanity Fair printed was true and the only person
who could answer that was the Norwegian model whose name came up in
court.

“The British press is often unfairly maligned by the legal profession and by snooty American publishing houses.

This newspaper showed them the way home and how to do things properly.”

MoS
reporter Laura Collins, who conducted the interview in Oslo,
accompanied by a photographer, said: “Once we were there, she was happy
to sit down and go through it; it was something she had been expecting
to do at some point. Perhaps the lawyers just weren’t as persistent as
us.”

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