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Filmmaker Paul Haggis ordered to pay rape accusers $7.5 million in New York trial – National

A jury on Thursday accused Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis of raping him in one of several #MeToo-era cases to bring the behavior of Hollywood celebrities to justice this fall. It ordered the woman to pay at least $7.5 million. The jury also plans to award additional punitive damages.

In a civil lawsuit that veered from sex to Scientology socializing on the red carpet, Haggis, known for his Oscar-winning “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash,” won Best Picture in 2015. in a dispute with publicist Haley Brest, who had met him while working at the film’s premiere. Early 2010s. After the afterparty of her screening in January 2013, he drove her to her house and invited her to her New York apartment for a drink.

After hugging his lawyers, Brest said he was “very grateful” for the ruling as he left the court.Haggis declined to comment.

He sat still as the verdict was read, looking at his three adult daughters in the courtroom audience. One was crying on her sister’s shoulder.

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Paul Haggis trial: Publicist accuses filmmaker of rape, ‘I was like a trapped animal’

Brest, 36, said Haggis then made unwanted pick-up lines, eventually forced him to perform oral sex, and then raped him despite begging him to stop. Haggis, 69, said the spokesperson seemed flirtatious and at times “conflicting,” but that she began kissing and performing oral sex entirely consensually. He said he couldn’t remember if they had sex.

A jury sided with Brest, who said she was affected mentally and professionally from her encounter with Haggis.

“I thought I was going home. I agreed to have a drink. What happened should never have happened. ‘s behavior,” she told jurors last month.

A jury concluded that while awarding her $7.5 million to compensate for the damage, punitive damages should also be awarded. further court proceedings for

The verdict came when another civil jury, held in a federal court next door, found Kevin Spacey not to have sexually abused then-teenage actor Anthony Rapp in 1986. It was handed down a few weeks after the verdict was handed down. Big shot Harvey Weinstein is on trial for rape separately in Los Angeles. Both have denied the charges, and Weinstein is appealing the conviction in New York.

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Harvey Weinstein extradited to California to face further sexual assault charges

All four cases follow #MeToo, which sparked calls for sexual misconduct accusations, disclosure and accountability in the wake of news reports in October 2017 about decades of allegations against Weinstein. did.

Brest, in particular, said she decided to sue Haggis because his public accusations against Weinstein infuriated her.

Four other women also testified that they experienced forced and unwelcome passes by Haggis in separate encounters dating back to 1996. None of the four women took legal action.

One woman said Haggis repeatedly tried to kiss her against her will and even got in and out of a taxi to her apartment in Toronto in 2015. His attorney tried to attack the accusers’ credibility.

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The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless, like Brest, they come forward publicly.

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Haggis has denied all allegations. He told jurors the accusations upset him.

“I’m scared because I don’t know why a woman would lie about something like this,” he said. introduced jurors to several women, including Deborah Leonard, who

During the three weeks of testimony, the trial included text messages Brest sent to friends about what happened to Haggis, emails exchanged between them before and after the night in question, and their testimony and the early days. I scrutinized some differences from what they said in the court documents.

Both sides debated whether Haggis could physically perform the alleged attack eight weeks after spinal surgery. He showed a dueling view on speculation that he would not have any further contact with the attacker.

The jury also heard extensive testimony about the Church of Scientology, a religion founded by science fiction and fantasy author L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s. Haggis was a supporter for decades before publicly abandoning and denouncing Scientology in 2009.

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Rape accuser Paul Haggis denies Scientology conspiracy theory

Through the testimony of Haggis and other former members, his defense argued that the church was trying to discredit him and that he may have had something to do with the lawsuit.

No witnesses said Haggis’ accusers or Brest’s lawyer knew of any ties to Scientology, and his lawyer admitted that Brest himself did not. tried to persuade jurors that there were “footprints, though perhaps not fingerprints, of Scientology’s involvement here.”

In a statement, the church said it was not involved in the matter, claiming Haggis was trying to shame the accusers with “absurd and patently false” allegations. I call it a “shameful, baseless conspiracy theory.”

Canadian-born Haggis began his career as a television writer, eventually writing episodes for famous 1980s series such as “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Thirtysomething.” He appeared in films in Splash in ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and ‘Crash’, where he also directed and co-produced. Each film won an Academy Award for Best Picture in 2004 and his in 2005 respectively, and Haggis also won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “Crash.”

His other credits include the Oscar-nominated script for “Letters from Iwo Jima” and the James Bond films “Casino Royale” and “Rewards of Solace.”

Filmmaker Paul Haggis ordered to pay rape accusers $7.5 million in New York trial – National

Source link Filmmaker Paul Haggis ordered to pay rape accusers $7.5 million in New York trial – National

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