Filmmaker Paul Haggis ordered to pay $7.5M to rape accuser in N.Y. trial – Nationwide


A jury ordered Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis Thursday to pay a minimum of $7.5 million to a lady who accused him of rape in one in every of a number of #MeToo-era circumstances that experience put Hollywood notables’ habits on trial q4. The jury additionally plans to award further punitive damages.

Veering from intercourse to red-carpet socializing to Scientology, the civil court docket trial pitted Haggis, identified for writing absolute best image Oscar winners “Million Buck Child” and “Crash,” towards Haleigh Breest, a publicist who met him whilst operating at film premieres within the early 2010s. After a screening afterparty in January 2013, he presented her a boost house and invited her to his New York condominium for a drink.

After hugging her legal professionals, Breest mentioned she used to be “very thankful” for the decision as she left court docket. Haggis declined to remark.

He sat stock-still as the decision used to be learn, then grew to become to take a look at his 3 grownup daughters within the court target market. One have been crying on a sister’s shoulder.

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Paul Haggis trial: Publicist accuses filmmaker of rape, ‘I used to be like a trapped animal’

Breest, 36, mentioned Haggis then subjected her to undesirable advances and in the long run forced her to accomplish oral intercourse and raped her in spite of her entreaties to forestall. Haggis, 69, mentioned the publicist used to be flirtatious and, whilst every so often seeming “conflicted,” initiated kisses and oral intercourse in a wholly consensual interplay. He mentioned he couldn’t recall whether or not they had sex.

Jurors sided with Breest, who mentioned she suffered mental {and professional} penalties from her come across with Haggis. She sued in overdue 2017.

“I believed I used to be getting a journey house. I agreed to have a drink. What took place by no means will have to have took place. And it had not anything to do with me, and the entirety to do with him and his movements,” she advised jurors ultimate month.

Whilst awarding her $7.5 million to catch up on struggling, the jury concluded that punitive damages will have to even be awarded. Jurors go back Monday for extra court docket court cases to assist them come to a decision that quantity.

The decision got here weeks after any other civil jury, within the federal courthouse subsequent door, made up our minds that Kevin Spacey didn’t sexually abuse fellow actor and then-teenager Anthony Rapp in 1986. In the meantime, “That ’70s Display” actor Danny Masterson and previous film mogul Harvey Weinstein are on trial, one by one, on felony rape fees in Los Angeles. Each deny the allegations, and Weinstein is interesting a conviction in New York.

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Click to play video: 'Harvey Weinstein extradited to California to face further sexual assault charges'

Harvey Weinstein extradited to California to stand additional sexual attack fees

All 4 circumstances adopted the #MeToo upwelling of denunciations, disclosures and calls for for responsibility about sexual misconduct, induced via October 2017 information reviews on many years of allegations about Weinstein.

Breest, particularly, mentioned she made up our minds to sue Haggis as a result of his public condemnations of Weinstein infuriated her: “This guy raped me, and he’s presenting himself as a champion of girls to the sector,” she recalled pondering.

4 different girls additionally testified that they skilled forceful, unwelcome passes — and in a single case, rape — via Haggis in separate encounters going again to 1996. Not one of the 4 took prison motion.

“The habits confirmed me that he used to be any person who used to be by no means going to forestall,” one lady testified, announcing that Haggis again and again attempted to kiss her towards her will or even adopted her into and out of a taxi to her condominium in Toronto in 2015. His legal professionals sought to assail the accusers’ credibility.

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The Related Press in most cases does no longer determine individuals who say they’ve been sexually assaulted except they arrive ahead publicly, as Breest has achieved.

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Pass judgement on in Italy weighs if Paul Haggis is going unfastened in intercourse abuse probe

Haggis denied all the allegations. He advised jurors the accusations left him shaken.

“I’m scared as a result of I don’t know why girls, why somebody, would lie about such things as this,” he mentioned. His protection, in the meantime, presented jurors to a number of girls — together with ex-wife and previous longtime “Dallas” forged member Deborah Rennard — who mentioned the screenwriter-director took it in stride after they rebuffed his romantic or sexual overtures.

Right through 3 weeks of testimony, the trial scrutinized textual content messages that Breest despatched to buddies about what took place with Haggis, emails between them ahead of and after the night time in query, and a few variations between their testimony and what they mentioned in early court docket papers.

The 2 facets debated whether or not Haggis used to be bodily in a position to wearing out the alleged assault 8 weeks after a spinal surgical treatment. Psychology mavens presented dueling views about what one referred to as well-liked misconceptions about rape sufferers’ habits, comparable to assumptions that sufferers would haven’t any next touch with their attackers.

And jurors heard intensive testimony concerning the Church of Scientology, the faith based via science fiction and myth writer L. Ron Hubbard within the Fifties. Haggis used to be an adherent for many years ahead of publicly renouncing, and denouncing, Scientology in 2009.

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Paul Haggis rape accuser denies claims of Scientology conspiracy

Thru testimony from Haggis and different ex-members, his protection argued that the church got down to discredit him and may have had one thing to do with the lawsuit.

No witnesses mentioned they knew that Haggis’ accusers or Breest’s legal professionals had Scientology ties, and his legal professionals said that Breest herself does no longer. Nonetheless, Haggis attorney Priya Chaudhry sought to influence jurors that there have been “the footprints, although possibly no longer the fingerprints, of Scientology’s involvement right here.”

The church mentioned in a observation that it has no involvement within the topic, arguing that Haggis is attempting to disgrace his accusers with an “absurd and patently false” declare. Breest’s legal professionals have referred to as it “a shameful and unsupported conspiracy concept.”

The Canadian-born Haggis were given his get started as a TV author, in the end penning episodes of such well known Eighties sequence as “Diff’hire Strokes” and “Thirtysomething.” He broke into motion pictures with a dash with “Million Buck Child” and “Crash,” which he additionally directed and co-produced. Every movie received the Academy Award for absolute best image, for 2004 and 2005 respectively, and Haggis additionally received a screenwriting Oscar for “Crash.”

His different credit come with the Oscar-nominated screenplay for “Letters From Iwo Jima” and the screenplays for the James Bond motion pictures “On line casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace.”



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