Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis has been discovered liable of raping a movie publicist at his New York Metropolis residence in 2013.
A jury in a civil courtroom trial ordered Haggis, 69, to pay a minimum of $7.5 million to Haleigh Breest, who accused him of rape.
The jury additionally determined that extra punitive damages ought to be awarded, however the quantity is to be determined later.
Breest, a publicist who met him whereas working at film premieres within the early 2010s, stated Haggis raped her after a screening afterparty in January 2013.
Following the get together, he supplied her a raise dwelling and invited her to his New York residence for a drink.
Breest, 36, stated Haggis then subjected her to undesirable advances and finally compelled her to carry out oral intercourse and raped her regardless of her requests to cease.
‘I assumed I used to be getting a experience dwelling,’ she advised jurors. ‘I agreed to have a drink. What occurred by no means ought to have occurred.
‘And it had nothing to do with me, and every little thing to do with him and his actions.’
A jury in a civil courtroom trial ordered Paul Haggis (heart), 69, to pay a minimum of $7.5 million to a lady who accused him of rape
Haleigh Breest (pictured Thursday), a publicist who met him whereas working at film premieres within the early 2010s, stated Haggis raped her after a screening afterparty in January 2013
Haggis, who is understood for writing finest image Oscar winners ‘Million Greenback Child’ and ‘Crash,’ stepped outdoors the courtroom in New York following his loss
Haggis is understood for writing finest image Oscar winners ‘Million Greenback Child’ and ‘Crash’.
Breest met him whereas working at film premieres within the early 2010s.
She filed her civil swimsuit in opposition to Haggis in 2017 on the peak of the #MeToo motion, claiming the famend director had raped her on January 31, 2013, when she was 26 and dealing as a contract publicist.
She stated Haggis supplied her a experience dwelling after a film premiere on the Higher West Facet and over her objections took her to his loft dwelling on Mercer Avenue.
Breest on October 20 recalled her mobile phone being useless as she entered the director’s doorman-less constructing and boarded an elevator to his penthouse.
She described the kitchen and front room space and stated: ‘I put my luggage down, he walked towards me along with his mouth open making an attempt to kiss me.’
The director, she recalled, ‘slobbered’ as he pinned her in opposition to the fridge and made contact together with her lips.
‘I stated, ‘How about that wine?” testified Breest. ‘I needed to remind him why I used to be there, for a drink and needed to let him know with out offending him.’
‘He was an necessary visitor. He was a pal of my boss and I did not need to make an enemy,’ she stated.
Breest filed her civil swimsuit in opposition to Haggis in 2017 on the peak of the #MeToo motion, claiming the famend director had raped her when she was 26
Breest stated Haggis slobbered throughout her as he sexually assaulted her in his New York residence when the 2 had been working collectively
Therapist, Dr. Catherine Baker-Pitts, who handled Breest from 2017 to 2019, testified that the accuser ‘lived in a continuing state of concern.’
4 different ladies additionally testified that they skilled forceful, unwelcome passes – and in a single case, rape – by Haggis in separate encounters going again to 1996. Not one of the 4 took authorized motion.
‘The habits confirmed me that he was someone who was by no means going to cease,’ one lady testified, saying that Haggis repeatedly tried to kiss her in opposition to her will and even adopted her into and out of a taxi to her residence in Toronto in 2015.
Haggis has repeatedly denied the rape allegations on stand, claiming they had been filed as a plot in opposition to him by the Church of Scientology for talking out in opposition to the group.
Haggis testified that as a result of he spoke out in opposition to Scientology in a New Yorker article in 2011, the church has waged struggle in opposition to him by dredging up sexual assault accusations by Breest and the opposite ladies.
He additionally blamed the church for failing to assist him cease dishonest on his ex-wife, Deborah Rennard, who testified in protection of him final week.
No witnesses stated they knew that Haggis’ accusers or Breest’s legal professionals had Scientology ties, and his legal professionals acknowledged that Breest herself doesn’t.
Nonetheless, Haggis’ lawyer Priya Chaudhry sought to steer jurors that there have been ‘the footprints, although possibly not the fingerprints, of Scientology´s involvement right here.’
The church stated in an announcement that it has no involvement within the matter, arguing that Haggis is making an attempt to disgrace his accusers with an ‘absurd and patently false’ declare. Breest´s legal professionals have known as it ‘a shameful and unsupported conspiracy idea.’