Deliberations to start in rape case involving filmmaker



Jury deliberations are due to start Thursday in a rape civil case in opposition to filmmaker Paul Haggis, tasking a six-person panel with sifting by way of duelling narratives about what occurred between him and a publicist on an evening in 2013.

In accuser Haleigh Breest’s telling, she reluctantly agreed to a drink on the “Crash” and “Million Dollar Baby” screenwriter’s condominium, then was subjected to unwelcome kisses, pressured to carry out oral intercourse and raped as she repeatedly refused.

“This is a horror movie by Paul Haggis, and solely you’ll be able to finish it,” certainly one of her attorneys, Ilann Maazel, informed the jury in a summation Wednesday.

By Haggis’ account, he is preventing a false declare by a show-business publicist who took a shine to an Oscar winner, signaled curiosity for months and was a accomplice — by turns hesitant and keen — in a consensual encounter.

“This lawsuit has completely destroyed him,” protection lawyer Priya Chaudhry mentioned in her closing argument, urging jurors to “set Paul free of those false allegations.”

Breest sued Haggis in 2017; she by no means introduced her allegations to police or prosecutors. She’s in search of unspecified damages.

Breest, now 36, and Haggis, 69, met whereas she was moonlighting as a staffer at film premieres in New York. They chatted at occasions and exchanged emails, interactions that he sees as flirtatious feelers however she says have been a typical public relations individual’s efforts to construct rapport.

After a screening on Jan. 31, 2013, each side agree, Haggis supplied Breest a trip residence and invited her to his loft for a nightcap. She steered a bar as an alternative.

When he remained set on the condominium, she accepted however mentioned she wasn’t going to spend the evening. She calls {that a} clear message that intercourse wasn’t on the desk; he mentioned he took it as a “playful” gambit.

Shortly after they arrived, he went to kiss her. And after that, their accounts and characterizations of the evening and its aftermath diverge considerably.

Chaudhry portrays Breest as a star-struck younger girl who was enthusiastic about her evening with the screenwriter-director, grew to become upset that he did not ask her out once more and twisted “a consensual, considerably awkward one-night stand” right into a sexual assault to attempt to get a payout — and payback.

“She’s misleading. She’s not upset about what occurred in Paul Haggis’ condominium that evening. She’s upset that he by no means invited her again,” Chaudhry mentioned in a closing argument. “There are three `r’ phrases in this case: reject, regret, revenge. None of them are rape.”

Breest’s attorneys paint Haggis as a scheming narcissist who repeatedly used his cinematic chops and Hollywood standing to prey on girls who got here into his skilled orbit.

“When it comes to younger girls he is attracted to, he makes use of that manipulation to get intercourse, by some means,” no matter consent, Maazel mentioned.

Besides Breest, 4 different girls testified that Haggis sexually assaulted them at separate factors going again to the Nineties — claims that he denies and his lawyer steered have been manufactured to bolster Breest’s lawsuit. The different girls aren’t suing.

There aren’t any prison fees related to the case.

The Associated Press usually doesn’t determine individuals who say they’ve been sexually assaulted until they arrive ahead publicly, as Breest has carried out.


Resources for sexual assault survivors in Canada

If you or somebody you recognize is scuffling with sexual assault or trauma, the next sources can be found to help individuals in disaster:

If you might be in rapid hazard or concern on your security, it’s best to name 911.

A full record of sexual assault centres in Canada that provide info, advocacy and counselling may be discovered at Resources in your neighborhood may be discovered by getting into your postal code. 

Helplines, authorized companies and areas that provide sexual assault kits in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia may be discovered right here.

National Residential School Crisis Line: +1 866 925 4419

24-hour disaster line: 416 597 8808 

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline: +1 833 900 1010 

Trans Lifeline: +1 877 330 6366

Sexual misconduct help for present or former members of the Armed Forces: +1 844 750 1648

Read about your rights as a sufferer right here.


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