Jury consultation begins in rape case against Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggis Pipa News

Jury consultation begins in rape case against Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggis

The jury’s deliberations will begin Thursday in a civil rape case against filmmaker Paul Haggis, which will see a six-person panel search through dueling accounts of what happened between him and a publicist one night in 2013.

According to accuser Haleigh Breest, she reluctantly agreed to have a drink at the… Crash and Million Dollars Baby screenwriter’s apartment, was then subjected to unwanted kisses, forced into oral sex, and raped while repeatedly refusing.

“This is a Paul Haggis horror film, and only you can put an end to it,” one of her lawyers, Ilann Maazel, told the jury on Wednesday.

According to Haggis, he is fighting a false claim by a show business publicist who starred an Oscar winner, showed interest for months, and partnered — by turns hesitant and eager — in a consensual encounter.

“This trial has completely destroyed him,” attorney Priya Chaudhry said in her closing statement, urging jurors to “free Paul of these false charges.”

The bills of the night in question vary considerably

Breest sued Haggis in 2017; she never took her accusations to the police or prosecutors. She is demanding unspecified damages.

Breest, now 36, and Haggis, 69, met while she was a staffer at movie premieres in New York. They chatted at events and exchanged emails, interactions he sees as flirty feelers, but she says they were typical attempts by a public relations person to build rapport.

Publicist Haleigh Breest arrives at the New York courthouse on Wednesday, November 2, 2022. Breest, now 36, and Haggis, 69, met while she was a staffer at movie premieres in New York. (Julia Nikhinson/The Associated Press)

After a showing on January 31, 2013, both sides agreed that Haggis offered Breest a ride home and invited her to his loft for a nightcap. She suggested a bar instead.

When he stayed in the apartment, she accepted, but said she had no intention of spending the night. She calls that a clear message that sex was not on the table; he said he considered it a “playful” gamble.

Shortly after they arrived, he went to kiss her. And after that, their descriptions and characterizations of the night and its aftermath vary considerably.

Chaudhry portrays Breest as a star-struck young woman who was excited about her night with the screenwriter-director, became disappointed he didn’t ask her again, and twisted “a consensual, slightly awkward one-night stand” into a sexual assault attempt. get a payout – and payback.

“She’s lying. She’s not angry about what happened that night at Paul Haggis’ apartment. She’s angry that he never invited her,” Chaudhry said in a closing statement. “There are three ‘r’ words in this case: reject, regret, revenge. None of them are rape.”

Breest’s lawyers portray Haggis as a wily narcissist who repeatedly used his cinematic chops and Hollywood stature to prey on women who got into his professional job.

“When it comes to young women he’s attracted to, he’s using that manipulation to somehow get sex,” Maazel said, regardless of his consent.

In addition to Breest, four other women have testified that Haggis sexually assaulted them at various points dating back to the 1990s — claims he denies and his attorney suggested they were made to support Breest’s lawsuit. The other women don’t complain.

There are no criminal charges associated with the case.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Breest has done.


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