John Ridley, a former MSNBC co-host and a Huffington Post contributor, used the California state budget crisis as an excuse to forego the extradition of rapist director Roman Polanski on CNN’s Campbell Brown program on Monday: “The people of California- we’re broke. What are we going to do? We’re going to prosecute him with IOUs? Let’s figure out some other way to deal with this for the moment.”
Ridley appeared with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin just after the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour. Anchor Campbell Brown first asked the former MSNBC personality, “This guy [Polanski] raped a 13-year-old girl. Why is Hollywood rallying behind him?” He replied, “Roman Polanski’s story is really interwoven with the Los Angeles story. He came here- he made a seminal film...Rosemary’s Baby. And then, of course, the horrible- the Manson murders would happen to his wife, the Tate-LaBianca murders.....So, I think there are a lot of people who feel like- here’s an individual who represents Hollywood, who’s been persecuted by it, and has really lived a pretty horrible life, and what more can you do to this guy after 30 years...why not...let it rest?”
Later, after Brown mentioned the French foreign minister’s intervention on Polanski’s behalf, Toobin blasted how people were using the director’s life story as a defense: “Well, I mean, he is a very famous guy, and he is revered in Europe, and- you know, it just seems to be such an insult to Holocaust survivors and to crime victims’ families. Yes, his parents were- died in the Holocaust. Yes, his wife was murdered, and a lot of people in similar situations don’t then go rape 13-year-old children...You don’t get a pass because you’ve had a sad life.”
The analyst continued with a sarcastic retort of Ridley: “I disagree with John in one respect. You know, he’s had such a horrendous life. You know, he’s lived in Paris for 30 years directing movies. You know, you might want to sign me up for that horrible life.” The Huffington Post contributor laughed it up with Toobin as he replied, “I’m not defending him. I’m explaining the circumstances. Come on.” But he continued with his budget crisis excuse: “At the risk of inciting Jeffrey Toobin’s ire, I will say this. It is about the people in California, Jeffrey. The people of California- we’re broke. What are we going to do? We’re going to prosecute him with IOUs? Let’s figure out some other way to deal with this for the moment.”
The Hollywood crowd is sure getting creative with its defense of its favorite criminal director.