Woody Allen Defends Roman Polanski

Filmmaker is "an artist and a nice person"

By David Chiu
|  Monday, May 17, 2010  |  Updated 9:54 AM EDT
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Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn attend the 'You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger' Premiere at the Palais des Festivals at Cannes.

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Woody Allen, who had a forbidden affair of his own, says Roman Polanski has suffered enough for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 and should be left alone.

In a France Info radio interview from the Cannes Film Festival, Allen, 74, said that Polanski "was embarrassed by the whole thing," "has suffered" and "has paid his dues," The Associated Press reported.

The Oscar-winning "Chinatown" director is "an artist and a nice person" who "did something wrong and he paid for it," Allen said Saturday.

Polanski, 76, is now under house arrest in Switzerland, awaiting a decision on whether to be extradited to the U.S. in connection to the drugging and rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977. He pled guilty to a count of unlawful sexual intercourse but fled the U.S. in 1978 before his sentencing. He claims the judge was going to reneg on a plea deal his lawyers had negotiated.

Allen himself went through scandal in 1992 for an affair with Soon Yi-Previn, the then-22 year-old adopted daughter of his former partner Mia Farrow. He later married Previn in 1997.

Last week, British actress Charlotte Lewis accused Polanski of sexually abusing her at his Paris home when she was 16. "It is very important the district attorney and the Swiss authorities be armed with this information as they decide his fate," Lewis, now 42, said in coming forward.

Allen, at Cannes to promote his new movie, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” may not have known about Lewis’ claims when reiterating support for Polanski, the AP reported. He signed a petition demanding Polanski’s release after his Switzerland arrest last September.

In a recent interview, actor Michael Douglas told French radio that he wouldn't sign the petition for "somebody who did break the law."

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