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Jury orders filmmaker Paul Haggis to pay $7.5 million in rape lawsuit

To Jennifer Peltz, Associated Press.

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. A jury will also award additional punitive damages.

In a civil lawsuit that veered from sex to Scientology socializing on the red carpet, Haggis, known for winning Best Picture for his Oscar-winning “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash,” was the film’s leading man. It was contested against publicist Haley Brest, who had met him while working at the premiere. Early 2010s.

After embracing her lawyers, Brest said she was “very grateful” for the verdict as she left the courtroom. I am grateful that you believed in me.

“I was very disappointed with the results,” Haggis said.

READ MORE: Woman Testifies in Paul Haggis Sexual Assault Trial: ‘I Felt Humiliated’

“I will continue to fight with my team to clear my name,” he said as he left the courthouse with his three adult daughters. One was holding her sister’s shoulders and crying when the verdict was handed down.

After the January 2013 screening afterparty, Haggis drove Brest home and invited him to his New York apartment for a drink.

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.

After a day of deliberation, the jury sided with Brest, who said he had been psychologically and professionally affected by his encounter with Haggis. She sued in late 2017.

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

READ MORE: Canadian director Paul Haggis speaks out on ‘false and damaging’ sexual assault allegations in Italy

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.

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.

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

Haggis has denied all allegations. His defense, meanwhile, introduced jurors to several women, including his ex-wife and longtime “Dallas” cast member Deborah Leonard.

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 gave a duel-like view on the assumption that he would not come into contact with the attacker after that.

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.

Through testimony from Haggis and other former members, his lawyers argued that the church set out to discredit him and may have 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 the jury that there were “footprints, though perhaps not fingerprints, of Scientology’s involvement here.”

In a statement, the church said Haggis was trying to shame the accusers with “ridiculous and patently false” allegations and said it was not involved in the matter.Ilann Maazal, Breest’s attorney and Zoe Salzman called it a “shameful, baseless conspiracy theory.”

Canadian-born Haggis wrote episodes of famous series such as “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Thirtysomething” in the 1980s. He also entered the film with a splash of ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and ‘Crash’ which he directed and co-produced. Each film won an Academy Award for Best Picture for his 2004 and his 2005 respectively, and Haggis also won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “Crash.”

His other credits include scripting the James Bond films ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Rewards of Solace’.

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Contributed by Associated Press journalist Ted Shuffley.

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Jury orders filmmaker Paul Haggis to pay $7.5 million in rape lawsuit

Source link Jury orders filmmaker Paul Haggis to pay $7.5 million in rape lawsuit

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