Paul Haggis Discovered Liable in Rape Trial, Ordered to Pay $7.5 Million
A New York jury has discovered filmmaker Paul Haggis accountable for raping a former publicist named Haleigh Breest at his Manhattan condominium in 2013, ordering him to pay at the least $7.5 million in compensation and really useful punitive damages.
Haggis — finest recognized for his movies like 2004’s Crash and Million Greenback Child — was sued in 2017 by Breest, who alleged that he violently raped her after a movie premiere. Following a six-hour deliberation, the six-person jury present in favor of Breest on all three counts of rape and sexual abuse.
Because it was a civil trial, jurors didn’t have to seek out past an inexpensive doubt that Haggis dedicated rape. As a substitute, the jury was requested to seek out whether or not Breest had met the burden of proof with the higher weight of the proof.
Throughout the 15-day trial in Manhattan Supreme Court docket, Breest spent 4 days on the stand defending her account towards a radical cross-examination by considered one of Haggis’ legal professionals, Priya Chaudhry. Based on reporting from The New York Instances, Breest’s legal professionals got down to persuade the jurors that her communications with a pal following the sexual encounter proved she considered it as an assault.
In textual content messages, Breest stated she had “saved saying no” and described Haggis as having been “tough and aggressive.” Her authorized crew additionally offered testimony from 4 different girls, who alleged Haggis both sexually assaulted them — or tried to take action — in separate incidents between 1996 and 2015.
Haggis denied all of the allegations, claiming he had been getting “blended indicators” throughout their sexual encounter and thus made it clear to Breest she shouldn’t do something she didn’t wish to do. He additionally claimed Breest was mendacity to reap the benefits of heightened public sensitivity round sexual misconduct allegations in the course of the #MeToo motion.
After Breest filed her lawsuit in late December 2017, three further girls got here ahead with their very own sexual misconduct allegations towards Haggis, who has denied all claims.
In June of this 12 months, Haggis was arrested in Italy for sexual assault. He was charged with aggravated sexual violence and aggravated private accidents, however these costs have been dismissed in late July by a three-judge panel.