Barbara Walters supports Woody Allen, after renewed sex abuse allegations against film-maker

LOS ANGELES - Woody Allen's lawyer and veteran journalist Barbara Walters have both come out in support of the film-maker following renewed allegations of sexual abuse from his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was seven years old.

Mr Elkan Abramowitz, who represented Allen at the time of the original investigation into abuse two decades ago, told NBC News on Tuesday that the "timing is suspect", and linked the accusations to Allen's recent Golden Globes life achievement award.

"Nothing's happened, they haven't had any relationship for the last 20 years. So all of a sudden we're seeing these allegations surface again, and one has to wonder why," he told NBC's Today show. "He is innocent. The case is over - there is no case."

The campaign for Allen comes as voters prepare to cast ballots for the Oscars next week. Allen's film Blue Jasmine has three nominations, including Best Original Screenplay for him and Best Actress for Cate Blanchett.

It followed a published letter by Farrow, 28, alleging that Allen, 78, sexually assaulted her in the house where she lived with her mother, Allen's then-girlfriend Mia Farrow. Both Mia and her son Ronan Farrow had also criticised the Globe tribute to Allen.

Abramowitz has been the most vocal of those to speak out publicly in defence of Allen. On Monday, an ex-girlfriend of Allen's, Stacey Nelkin, also spoke on CNN with host Piers Morgan. Nelkin, who dated the film-maker when she was 17 and he was 42 after meeting on the set of his film Manhattan, said she did not believe Dylan Farrow's accusations against him.

Walters praised Allen's parenting skills on her morning TV show The View on Tuesday, saying he was a "sensitive, loving and caring" father to his two adopted daughters with wife Soon-Yi Previn.

Mr Abramowitz said Allen's recent recognition in Hollywood prompted the renewed claims. "It's a continuation of Mia Farrow's desire to hurt Woody Allen," he said, adding his recent lifetime achievement award at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globes "revived the anger she has towards him".

The accusations from the Farrows, says awards handicapper Tom O'Neil of Goldderby.com, could be seen as "Oscar war" and "in their battle against Blue Jasmine, (and) Cate Blanchett could be a casual ty of the war".

He said, however, that she probably would not take sides, making her less vulnerable in her Oscar bid.

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