TODAY

TODAY   |  February 04, 2014

Woody Allen’s lawyer on allegations: ‘There is no case’

Elkan Abramowitz, the filmmaker’s attorney, speaks exclusively to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie about the disturbing abuse allegations made by Dylan Farrow, Allen’s adopted daughter with his former lover, Mia Farrow. “The idea that she was molested was implanted in her by her mother,” Abramowitz says, defending Allen’s innocence.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to a very personal battle that is once again playing out in public. woody allen 's adopted daughter dylan farrow is renewing accusations that the oscar winner molested her two decades ago. we'll talk to allen 's attorney exclusively in minutes, but first, here's kate snow .

>> reporter: the raw emotion and disturbing details in the open letter are stirring up strong feelings for those who support a legendary director and those who believe his accuser. leah dunham called it courageous, powerful and generous. the allegations date back 20 years, but this weekend, dylan farrow publicly described the abuse she says she repeatedly endured as a child. woody allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic, he sexually assaulted me. allen has always vehemently denied the allegations.

>> you don't have any comment about dylan 's letter?

>> and has never been charged with a crime. on "the view," barbara walters defended her friend calling him a loving, caring father and questioned her motives.

>> she's doing it now because he's up for an award. and so the question is, does your personal life interfere with your award?

>> reporter: a once beloved artist now being judged in the court of public opinion even as hi films continue to receive accolades. for "today," nbc news, new york.

>> speaking out for the first time since the publication of dylan farrow 's letter, mr. allen 's attorney. i know you talked to your client and curious about what his reaction is to these renewed allegations and the public way they're being aired.

>> his reaction is one of overwhelming sadness because of what has happened to dylan . she was a pawn in a huge fight between him and mia farrow years ago. and the idea she was molested was implanted in her by her mother. and that memory is never going to go away. so the fact that she says this now that it happened 20 years ago is totally understandable.

>> a lot of people read this article and probably thought to themselves, she's an adult now, why would she lie? why would she make up these allegations? is she asking for anything from woody allen at this point?

>> in my view, she's not lying, i think she truly believes this happens. when you implant the story in a fragile 7-year-old's mind, it stays there forever. it never goes away.

>> you're accusing mia farrow of essentially coaching the girl at the time. the custody judge said there wasn't credible evidence of coaching.

>> the custody judge is not the most important factor here. the charges were brought to the connecticut state police , the state police got the sex abuse clinic of yale new haven, a nationally recognized group to investigate those charges. they determined after six months inquiry not only it didn't happen but that dylan was coached by her mother. and that's important because everybody now talks about the presumption of innocence, he is innocent. they determined that the molestation never took place.

>> part of the complexity of this case is on the one hand, you have that yale study, a prosecutor looking into the case, declining to bring charges, although he said he personally believed he had evidence to arrest mr. allen . but you have the separate custody case where the judge looked at the same facts and said mr. allen 's behavior was, quote, grossly inappropriate and denied visitation. what do you say to that?

>> i say that the judge was wrong, the judge favored mia farrow for a variety of reasons. i think a lot of the confusion about the case relates to how the relationship evolved. suni was not allen 's daughter, but everybody believed -- too many people believed that she was his daughter and he was having a relationship with his adopted daughter. that is just not true. it never was true. and i think a lot of the confusion that has risen around the case and particularly in the custody case arises from that fact.

>> if woody allen looks at an article like this, two decades later, all of this coming up again, what legal recourse does he have? is there somebody he can sue for defamation, for example?

>> woody allen is not interested in suing anyone for defamation. he was determined not to have molested his daughter 20 years ago. there is no case. the fact it's being brought up is suspect. the timing is suspect. nothing's happened. they haven't had any relationship in the last 20 years. so all of a sudden we're seeing these allegations surface again and one has to wonder why.

>> well, really quickly. do you have an opinion as to why they're coming up now 20 years later?

>> i think it's a continuation of mia farrow 's desire to hurt woody allen . and he's riding fairly high, got the golden globe 's award for lifetime achievement . and i believe, it revives the anger she has toward him.

>> thank you for coming and bringing your perspective, i really appreciate it.