A New York jury has discovered filmmaker Paul Haggis answerable for raping a former publicist named Haleigh Breest at his Manhattan residence in 2013, ordering him to pay at the very least $7.5 million in compensation and advisable punitive damages.
Haggis — greatest identified 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 search out past an affordable doubt that Haggis dedicated rape. As a substitute, the jury was requested to search 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 Courtroom, Breest spent 4 days on the stand defending her account towards an intensive cross-examination by one among Haggis’ attorneys, Priya Chaudhry. In accordance with reporting from The New York Occasions, 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 mentioned she had “stored saying no” and described Haggis as having been “tough and aggressive.” Her authorized crew additionally introduced 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 alerts” 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 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 expenses had been dismissed in late July by a three-judge panel.