Director Paul Haggis to go on trial in October in NYC for ‘raping publicist in 2013’
Oscar-winning film director Paul Haggis has been charged with his rape trial in New York City after he was accused of assaulting a publicist.
Haggis will face Judge Sabrina Kraus from October 11, Variety reports. He was charged with rape by Haleigh Breest, a film publicist, in 2017. She alleges she was raped by Haggis in his apartment in 2013 after a movie premiere.
But Haggis claims the meeting was consensual and has called the allegations an attempted extortion.
After Breest’s lawsuit in 2017, three more women accused Haggis of sexual misconduct in January 2018, including one who claims to have been raped by him.
Haggis tried to speed up the process, citing mounting legal bills and an inability to work until his name is cleared, but his request was denied.
The director, whose co-author of the 2006 Oscar-winning film ‘Crash’, is currently in jail after being arrested in southern Italy. A British woman has alleged that he raped her in a two-day ordeal earlier this month.
Haggis has denied doing anything and an Italian judge has ordered him to stay at the hotel while police investigate the allegations.
Paul Haggis (left) will stand trial before Judge Sabrina Kraus from October 11, Variety reports. He was accused of rape by Haleigh Breest, a film publicist, in 2017
Breest claims she was raped by Haggis in his apartment in 2013 after a movie premiere. But Haggis claims the meeting was consensual and has called the charges an attempted extortion
Haggis, who co-wrote, directed and produced Crash, which won the 2006 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, is pictured out of court in Italy with his lawyers.
Prosecutors have said he is under investigation for alleged aggravated sexual assault and aggravated personal injury.
After a hearing of several hours at the Brindisi courthouse, Judge Vilma Gilli issued the ruling extending his detention in the farm in the countryside of Ostuni, a tourist town where he was due to participate in an arts festival this week, Corriere della Sera reported daily. .
Haggis’ attorney, Michele Laforgia, said after the hearing that his client had reaffirmed his utter innocence in court and is “hopeful” that he will ultimately be found in his favour.
Prosecutors have described the woman as young and foreign. State television and other Italian media said she is a 30-year-old Englishwoman who knew Haggis before coming to Ostuni.
When asked by a reporter what kind of relationship Haggis and the woman had, Laforgia replied that it had been a “knowledge relationship.”
According to the lawyer, the defense disputes a hospital report showing that the woman suffered physical injuries.
“Paul Haggis answered all questions and explained what happened,” Laforgia told reporters outside the courthouse. “He declared himself, as he had done shortly after the arrest, completely innocent, in the sense that the relations he had with this woman were completely consensual.”
A request for release from house arrest was later rejected by an Italian judge and he will have to remain in Italy while the investigation continues.
Prior to his hearing, local media had details of a seven-page memo he allegedly prepared for his lawyer, in which he allegedly alleged that he met the woman at a film festival in Monte Carlo in April and that the two kept in touch through whatsapp.
Haggis claimed that the pair spoke briefly in Monte Carlo and that she expressed a desire to star in the next James Bond movie and later posted a photo with him saying it was “an honor” to meet him.
Haggis, who co-wrote, directed and produced Crash, which won the 2006 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, is pictured with his lawyers outside the court in Italy Haggis is pictured scanning through metal detectors at Brindisi Court in Southern Italy
He then described how the two then met in Ostuni near Brindisi in June and drove to his hotel, where she passionately “kissed” him.
Haggis in the memo goes on to claim that the two had sex after she showered, stressing that it had been consensual and the next day they had gone out together for the Allora Film Festival in Ostuni, where he was a guest. his daughter was present.
He told his lawyer that the woman had “stood” to hold his hand – which he was not comfortable with – and that she was upset by his reaction.
Once back in their room he claimed the couple then had sex again by mutual consent, the next day Haggis said he left her because he had a business meeting and she met friends before meeting again that night, according to his leaked statement, where they once again had consensual sex.
In mid-June, he claimed the woman had gone out with friends again, but came back drunk and tried to have sex with him, but he had refused and then began describing what she was the next Bond girl.
The statement then goes on to say that Haggis took the woman to Brindisi airport early the next morning for her flight back to Stansted, where she asked for money, but he refused and drove off.
Staff later found her in a dire condition and the police were called and she told them she had been locked up for the past three days and forced to have sex with Haggis.
Haggis wrote, directed and produced Crash, which won the 2006 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. He also wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby, another Oscar winner.