Paul Haggis: Suit over rape claim heads to trial

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NEW YORK –


Opening statements are anticipated Wednesday in a civil case introduced by a publicist who accused Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis of raping her nearly a decade in the past.


Jury choice started Monday in a Manhattan courtroom.


The lawsuit was filed in 2017 as a wave of sexual misconduct accusations towards outstanding males was propelling the #MeToo motion to new visibility. At least 4 different ladies subsequently alleged that Haggis, a screenwriter identified for “Crash” and “Million Dollar Baby,” sexually assaulted them or tried to accomplish that.


The New York lawsuit facilities on the publicist’s allegation that Haggis provided her a trip house from a film premiere, invited her to his residence for a drink, rebuffed her suggestion that they go to a public bar as a substitute, after which raped her.


The filmmaker, who declined to remark as he left courtroom Monday, maintains that the encounter was consensual.


His protection can also characteristic an allegation of sinister intrigue: His attorneys have instructed that the Church of Scientology engineered false accusations of sexual misdeeds to damage Haggis, a former longtime member who turned an outspoken critic.


The church has stated it had no involvement within the allegations towards Haggis, and his accuser’s attorneys have referred to as it “a shameful and unsupported conspiracy theory unworthy of any trial proceeding.”


But Judge Sabrina Kraus dominated final month that Haggis’ attorneys can convey up Scientology, saying that “the jury is entitled to be informed of any possible motive (the) plaintiff may have and about the church’s efforts to discredit Haggis.”


No felony expenses have been filed in reference to the publicist’s accusation. Her lawsuit might imply a monetary penalty, however not jail or probation for Haggis if she prevails. She is searching for unspecified damages.


After the swimsuit was filed in late 2017, three different ladies advised her attorneys and The Associated Press that Haggis had sexually assaulted them or tried to accomplish that. One stated he had raped her. In response, his lawyer stated Haggis “didn’t rape anybody.”


Kraus dominated final month that these three ladies also can testify as a part of the plaintiff’s effort to reveal Haggis’ “intent and lack of consent.”


Jurors will not be allowed to hear that Haggis was detained for about two weeks at an Italian resort in June whereas authorities investigated allegations that he sexually assaulted a lady there. Haggis was in Italy for an arts pageant.


Haggis’ Italian legal professional stated the filmmaker was harmless, and in early July, a decide launched him whereas prosecutors thought of whether or not to pursue their inquiry. The decide concluded that Haggis hadn’t engaged in “constrictive violent behavior,” in accordance to the newspaper Corriere della Sera.


The Canadian-born Haggis wrote “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash,” which gained back-to-back Academy Awards for finest image within the mid-2000s. He additionally directed and was a producer of “Crash,” which garnered him and Bobby Moresco the very best authentic screenplay Oscar in 2006. The subsequent 12 months, Haggis was nominated in the identical class for “Letters from Iwo Jima.”

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