UPDATED with punitive damages, 1:45 PM: The jury in Paul Haggis’ sexual assault civil trial at this time ordered him to pay $2.5 million in punitive damages to plaintiff Haleigh Breest. Added to the $7.5 million it awarded Thursday, when he was discovered liable, the Crash double Oscar winner now faces $10 million in damages.
Learn particulars of the case under.
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Outdoors court docket, Haggis vowed mentioned: “Right now the jury discovered what the opposing counsel has recognized for years, which is that I’ve spent all the cash I’ve at my disposal. I’ve gutted my pension plan. I’ve lived on loans to be able to pay for this case in a really naíve perception in justice. Nicely, now we’ll see what the appeals court docket will say. As a result of we’ll completely enchantment. I can’t dwell with lies like this; I’ll die clearing my identify.”
His legal professional, Priya Chuadhry, mentioned outdoors the courtroom: “All through this trial we weren’t allowed to inform the jury that Mr. Haggis is mainly penniless, and now the world is aware of. And we stay up for clearing his identify.”
Breest made no feedback outdoors court docket, however her legal professionals Ilann Maazel and Zoe Saldana later launched an announcement: “”Within the wake of Friday’s resolution to carry Mr. Haggis accountable for his actions, we’re happy to see the jury proceed to acknowledge the harms achieved to our shopper by awarding her punitive damages. Their resolution sends a strong message that Mr. Haggis’ reprehensible conduct is not going to be tolerated in any manner. We’re pleased with our shopper, Haleigh Breest, for the braveness she confirmed in bringing this case ahead and publicly sharing the reality of what occurred to her. We hope the jury’s resolution right here units a precedent for a way different #MeToo instances are determined transferring ahead.”
PREVIOUSLY, November 10: A New York jury at this time discovered filmmaker Paul Haggis liable on all three counts of rape and sexual abuse in his therapy of Haleigh Breest, who left a celebration in Manhattan with him in 2013 after which sued the Crash Oscar winner in 2017 claiming he repeatedly pressured intercourse on her in his residence that night time.
The unanimous jury of 4 males and two girls — whose make-up modified on the primary day of deliberations — deliberated for almost six hours within the civil trial earlier than awarding Breest $7.5 million in compensation. It additionally really useful punitive damages, the quantity of which will likely be determined Monday, November 14.
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Seated between his legal professionals, Haggis — who faces no jail time as a result of this was not a legal continuing — seemed straight forward because the verdicts have been learn. He then stood together with his three grownup daughters and hugged certainly one of them, who was crying.
Standing together with his lawyer Priya Chaudhry and his members of the family outdoors the courthouse, Haggis mentioned: “I’m clearly very dissatisfied within the outcomes. And I’m going to proceed to, with my staff, battle to clear my identify. We’re going to maintain our choices as to what we’re going to do.”
Breest hugged her legal professionals and mentioned as she exited that she was “very grateful.” She later launched an announcement via her attorneys: “I’m grateful that I had the chance to hunt justice and accountability in court docket — and that the jury selected to observe the details — and believed me. The best supply of consolation via this 5 yr authorized journey has been the help I felt from the ladies who bravely shared their very own tales and let me know I wasn’t alone.”
Breest’s legal professionals Zoe Salzman and Ilann Maazel mentioned in an announcement: “We’re happy to see justice served for our shopper, Haleigh Breest. After the jury heard a mountain of plain proof in opposition to Mr. Haggis, they did the appropriate factor and held him accountable for his deplorable conduct. We commend Ms. Breest for the bravery it took to return ahead. She stood up for herself and for all girls.”
Additionally within the hallway, Breest paused to hug her former therapist, Catherine Baker-Pitts, who handled Breest in 2017-19 and testified in the course of the trial that Breest was affected by signs of trauma.
“Justice was served,” Baker-Pitts mentioned of the decision, including that Breest stepped “out of her consolation zone” to pursue the case, “and she or he trusted within the system.”
Baker-Pitts, who was Breest’s most seen and sometimes solely supporter within the courtroom, mentioned she hopes the result will assist Breest “restore a sense of security on the earth,” and encourage “religion within the energy of talking up — that it was value it.”
Right now’s verdicts have been the most recent judgment in a spate of instances rising out of a #MeToo motion that has referred to as out highly effective males within the leisure trade as sexual abusers. The jury was requested to resolve whether or not Haggis was certainly one of them. Breest and her legal professionals sought to show that Haggis had pressured her to undergo intercourse and to carry out oral intercourse on him and pushed his fingers inside her whilst she mentioned “no.”
She spent 4 days in whole on the stand describing the encounter and defending her interpretation of it in opposition to a skeptical cross-examination by a lawyer for Haggis, Priya Chaudhry. In closing arguments on Wednesday, Chaudhry requested jurors to make use of their “fabulous New York frequent sense” to see via Breest’s story.
Jurors dominated on three particular expenses: first-degree rape and two third-degree expenses of intercourse abuse and a legal sexual act underneath New York regulation. About one hour into their deliberations, jurors requested the choose for a number of items of trial testimony and proof together with texts between Breest and the buddy she contacted first, and deposition testimony by Breest and Haggis discussing vaginal intercourse.
Breest and Haggis each had testified that they went again to his residence after a movie-screening celebration on Jan. 31, 2013, the place Haggis, then 59, was a VIP visitor and Breest, then 26, was working as a contract publicist. Each agreed that Haggis turned a suggestion of a trip dwelling for Breest in his employed automobile into an invite to his place, and that she deflected the invitation at first by suggesting they as a substitute go to a bar. She then agreed to go dwelling with him however mentioned she wouldn’t keep the night time, each testified.
Their testimony diverged from there. Breest mentioned she felt “pressured” to spend time after work with Haggis, a frequent visitor at occasions placed on by her boss, who fired her after she filed the lawsuit. Haggis testified that he and Breest had been flirting all night time, have been genuinely fascinated about one another and that Breest was playfully letting him know she was open to intercourse with him even when she wasn’t planning to remain over.
Haggis testified that the intercourse was consensual and, to one of the best of his reminiscence, confined to oral intercourse that Breest initiated. He mentioned that Breest by no means portrayed the encounter to him as anything till her lawsuit virtually 5 years later on the peak of the #MeToo motion, after Haggis had referred to as film producer Harvey Weinstein a “predator” as girls within the movie trade have been coming ahead with accounts of Weinstein sexually brutalizing them.
RELATED: Harvey Weinstein L.A. Rape Trial: “Bulk Of Case” May Be Completed By Thanksgiving Week, Protection Legal professional Says
He has referred to as the case a vendetta by the Church of Scientology, a secretive and rich non secular motion based by a science fiction novelist. Haggis stop the church in 2009 with harsh phrases for its strategies and spoke at size about his journey via and out of Scientology for a New Yorker profile and an HBO documentary.
His protection legal professionals didn’t produce a single witness or piece of documentation in court docket linking any of his accusers on to the church, however in closing arguments on Wednesday, Haggis lawyer Chaudhry mentioned jurors ought to think about the “sturdy circumstantial proof” of a Scientology position in accusations which have “completely destroyed him.”
The jury heard from about two dozen witnesses in all, together with Haggis, Breest and 4 Jane Does — Deadline will not be naming them — who mentioned Haggis sexually assaulted them, or tried to, in separate incidents between 1996 and 2015 after utilizing completely different ruses to get them alone. They don’t seem to be events to the lawsuit in opposition to Haggis, however a lawyer for Breest, Ilann Maazel, mentioned in closing arguments that they “give some perception into what his intent actually was” when he took Breest dwelling. Maazel referred to as Haggis a “psychopath” who deliberate and orchestrated his assault of Breest simply as he had achieved with the opposite 4 girls.
There have been dueling consultants on reminiscence, trauma and attitudes in direction of rape victims — each with hyperlinks to courtroom instances that accused Weinstein and the actor Kevin Spacey of sexual abuse. Two spinal surgeons provided contrasting views on whether or not Haggis was even able to initiating forcible intercourse in opposition to somebody resisting him bodily, provided that he was nonetheless recovering from an operation to restore two ruptured discs in his again.
Chaudhry, in a grinding, hours-long cross-examination that left Breest in tears, sought to point out jurors that the rape as she claimed it occurred was equal components “fantasy,” as Chaudhry put it in closing arguments, and “not bodily attainable.” She mentioned Breest had a number of alternatives to depart Haggis’ residence, and as a substitute she spent the night time.
Chaudhry depicted Breest as a troubled and emotionally immature lady who mistook “an ungainly one-night stand” with a well-known, completed Hollywood determine for one thing extra, and felt humiliated when he confirmed no additional curiosity.
Chaudhry mentioned Breest’s texts to associates afterward, and emails to Haggis, present her response evolving from pleasure at having spent the night time with him to confusion at his disinterest, after which remorse and humiliation that led her to recast what occurred as rape.
One textual content from Breest learn, “As they are saying within the first wives membership don’t get mad get every little thing,” referencing the 1996 revenge-comedy film The First Wives Membership.
“She’s not upset about what occurred in Paul Haggis’ residence that night time,” Chaudhry mentioned. “She’s upset that he by no means invited her again.”
Jurors additionally heard from a string of protection witnesses with connections to the Church of Scientology, together with the previous King of Queens star Leah Remini, who additionally hosted the Emmy-winning documentary tv sequence, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.
Remini and different former Scientologists, together with Haggis’ daughter Alissa, informed jurors that the church by no means forgives its enemies and makes use of litigation and impossible-to-trace covert operations to undermine them. One ex-Scientist, a documentary movie producer, mentioned that shortly after Haggis left the church, a high-ranking Scientologist referred to as her for assist digging up grime on him however she refused.
“It’s the proper protection,” Maazel scoffed in his closing. “There’s no proof of it, so it have to be true.”
An ex-wife of Haggis, singer and actress Deborah Rennard, testified that Haggis was untrue and had greater than 20 affairs throughout their marriage however by no means was violent. Three different girls mentioned they continue to be associates with Haggis regardless that they rejected his passes or romantic curiosity.
Haggis himself mentioned on the stand, “I’m a really flawed human being,” however denied raping or making an attempt to pressure himself sexually on anybody.
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