Paul Haggis Trial Concludes as Jury Reaches Verdict in Rape Case Brought by Haleigh Breest

Manager Paul Haggis was found guilty of three counts of rape and sexual abuse after a former journalist accused him of raping her in his SoHo penthouse in 2013.

The jury awarded the prize Haleigh Breest-Who defendant Haggis brutally raped her and forced her to perform oral sex – $7.5 million, with damages to be decided at a later date. Haggis may take a stance again on Monday for a direct adversarial questioning of Breest’s attorneys as part of the damages process.

It is unclear whether Haggis’ legal team will appeal the court’s decision. The Daily Beast has reached out to Haggis’ attorney for comment.

Breest welcomed the ruling in a statement to The Daily Beast.

“I am grateful that I had the opportunity to seek justice and accountability in court — and that the jury chose to follow the truth — and believe me,” she said. “The biggest source of comfort during this five-year legal journey has been the support I’ve felt from the women who bravely shared their own stories and let me know I’m not alone.”

Her lawyers said they were grateful for the jury’s verdict.

“We are grateful that the jury was careful, methodical — they considered all the evidence and they did justice. It took a long time to get justice and we finally got it and we are happy about it.”

Former scientist Mike Rinder, who testified on behalf of Haggis in the trial told The Daily Beast, said he did not feel like justice had been served.

“I think it was a betrayal of justice that the jury was not informed that Ms Breest had not reported the claimed rape to law enforcement but instead sent a letter monetary request to Paul Haggis,” Rinder said in an emailed statement to The Daily Beast. “It was he who went to law enforcement to report the takedown attempt. That is not the act of a guilty person. I hope his lawyers appeal this decision. And I’m sad to hear that science is heating up in the wings. “

During the civil trial, Haggis’s lawyers argued that the 36-year-old was an “absolute liar” and a “jealous woman”. flirt Haggis’ affection turns to revenge when he “politely rejects” her after a one-night stand. In final arguments, Haggis’ defense attorney, Priya Chaudhry, called Breest’s accusations “a blatant act of cash appropriation.”

The Scientist’s previous legal team also attempted to argue that the Church of Scientology, which Haggis public defection since 2009, has surreptitiously brought charges and lawsuits against the screenwriter in a covert attempt to smear his name and cause his downfall.

Breest testified that Haggis pinned her to a wall inside his top-floor loft in Manhattan, before forcing her to perform oral sex on him, claiming she gagged repeatedly. as Haggis turned over his face. Breest, then 26 years old, said Accident The director then pushed her to bed and raped her vaginally.

“He was trying to pull my pants down and I was trying to pull them up,” Breest told the court. “He looks like a devil – he looks completely different from what I’ve seen before.”

Paul Haggis with two Oscars for the film Accident.

Ian West – PA Pictures

Breest, who answered about 2,500 questions that were being cross-examined, according to her attorneys, filed the lawsuit against Haggis in 2017 – four years after the alleged encounter. She told jurors she was pushed to speak out after what she felt were the hypocritical tweets and comments Haggis made in newspapers that denied the Hollywood giant and the crime. convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein at the top of #MeToo movement.

After Breest filed the lawsuit, four other women came forward and accused Haggis of raping or attempting to sexually assault them in incidents that took place between 1996 and 2015. Four Jane Does, all Canadians , testified or recorded deposits in court during the trial. On the stand, Haggis denies any sexual misconduct involving the alleged victims.

Haggis, who was long rejected sexual assault allegations, told jurors that trying with Breest was consensual. Sometimes crying in the witness stand, Haggis described Breest as “cartoon” and “shy” as “Betty Boop,“Send him mixed signals” inside his penthouse in the moments leading up to the sexual encounter. Haggis, who admitted at trial that he was “always a flirt”, testified that he and Breest traded “Flirt” work-related emails in the months prior to the alleged encounter.

He told the court Breest was willing to give him oral sex but denied having vaginal intercourse with her. He cannot say for certain whether he may have ejaculated on the night in question, although Haggis’ semen was found in the inner crotch of the tights Breest was wearing the night of the incident. case.

Haggis also testified how the civil sexual assault case practically bankrupted his finances and destroyed his filmmaking career.

“For five years, I couldn’t say my name,” Haggis told jurors shortly after taking a stand during the trial.

(LR) Maria Bello, Paul Haggis, Moran Atias, Mila Kunis and producer Michael Nozik attend the premiere of Third wheelHaggis’ final main movie credit.

Kevin Winter

Haggis’s last great contribution was the scriptwriter of the 2013 romance film Third wheel, which features an all-star cast that includes Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, and Olivia Wilde. Haggis, who was working in Italy on the film around the time of his encounter with Breest, had flown in from Rome a few hours before the after-party of the film he attended on the night in question.

The two-time Oscar winner proved his peak movie career came to a halt after Breest filed a lawsuit in 2017.

In June, Haggis was arrest in Italy after a British woman there accused a 69-year-old man of raping her “day” At the hotel. Haggis, who negative Allegedly, ended up being held in a hotel room for 16 days under house arrest. An Italian judge later dismiss case, citing lack of evidence.

His attorneys at the time argued that the victim had sought a sexual encounter with Haggis in exchange for a role in Movies about James Bond. Haggis previously wrote the spy thriller 007 Casino Royale and Level of comfort.

His lawyers argued that Breest may have “imagined” the encounter.

“There were three “r” words that happened here: denial, remorse, and revenge,” Chaudhry told the jury during her final debate on Nov. some of these ‘r’ words are rape.”

“They want you to think that where there is smoke there is fire, but sometimes there is only one smoke machine,” says Chaudhry.

Breest’s suit searched for unspecified damage.

In the case of close argumenthowever, Ilann Maazel, Breest’s attorney, painted Haggis as a serial predator who repeatedly lied to juries in the witness stand.

“We had to face the cold and hard truth – Paul Haggis was a monster,” Maazel told the court Wednesday. “He is a psychopath. He is cunning, deceitful, and manipulative. He sexually assaulted five women and he had the guts to stand up there and play the victim.”

Film director Paul Haggis (R) arrives at the New York Supreme Court for the first day of his trial.


In September, Haggis won a pre-trial fight in which the judge of the case, Sabrina Kraus, allowed the filmmaker to argue that the Church of Scientology brought the charges and lawsuits. against him.

“One can never tell the story of Paul Haggis without talking about Scientology,” Chaudhry also stated in his conclusion. “For most of his life — and for the rest of his life — Scientology was eternally attached to him as a dark shadow. Scientology will be the first thought he thinks of when someone breaks into his apartment. It will always hang around in a dark corner and that has always been true of Paul. That’s true of Mike Rinder. It’s true Leah Remini. You can’t tell the stories of these people without talking about Scientology.”

Haggis’ legal team, who noted that they were not responsible for evidence to prove with certainty that the Church of Scientology was somehow behind the case, however, did not could find a clear link between Scientology and the rape he was accused of four weeks later. testimony

Breest and four Jane Does repeatedly deny any ties to the controversial religion. Her lawyers have described the legal strategy as a “sideline” defense designed to distract jurors.

Breest attorney Zoe Salzman said: “We are not after the Church of Educational Sciences. The Daily Beast last week. “Never there will never.”

The Church of Scientology has also staunchly denied any involvement in Haggis’ rape.

“The church has nothing to do with the claims against Haggis nor has it had anything to do with his accusers,” said Karin Pouw, a Church spokesman. The Daily Beast in a statement in October.

Mike Rinder (L) and Leah Remini attend the movie screening Leah Remini: Science and Consequences.

Michael Kovac

Scientist accuser, television actress Leah Remini and former church executive Mike Rinderboth longtime friends of Haggis, testified at trial in defense of the screenwriter embroiled in an attempt to bolster his defense group’s Scientology claims.

Remini and Rinder, co-hosts of the Emmy Award-winning A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and Consequencestestified that Haggis was one of the top three enemies of the church.

Remini, who testified via a live video link from Beverly Hills last week, researched the Science of Education dictionary, describing to jurors “Suppressors”, “disconnect” and “fair game”—Operations deemed extreme are to destroy any perceived enemy of the church by any means necessary.

The King of Queens the actress also spoke of actor Tom Cruise’s “god-like” status in religion, which Haggis corroborated in his testimony, in which he described the eccentric actor as an important person. second most important in Scientology. David Miscavige.

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