A New York jury has discovered filmmaker Paul Haggis responsible for raping a former publicist named Haleigh Breest at his Manhattan condo in 2013, ordering him to pay at the least $7.5 million in compensation and really helpful punitive damages.
Haggis — greatest 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.
Through the 15-day trial in Manhattan Supreme Court docket, Breest spent 4 days on the stand defending her account in opposition to a radical cross-examination by certainly one of Haggis’ attorneys, Priya Chaudhry. In line with reporting from The New York Times, Breest’s attorneys got down to persuade the jurors that her communications with a good friend following the sexual encounter proved she seen it as an assault.
In textual content messages, Breest stated she had “stored saying no” and described Haggis as having been “tough and aggressive.” Her authorized staff 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 “combined 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 benefit from heightened public sensitivity round sexual misconduct allegations throughout the #MeToo motion.
After Breest filed her lawsuit in late December 2017, three extra girls got here ahead with their very own sexual misconduct allegations in opposition to 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 fees have been dismissed in late July by a three-judge panel.