UPDATED with extra particulars: Leah Remini testified Monday that Paul Haggis, and never his accuser, is the actual sufferer in his New York sexual assault civil trial.
The previous King of Queens star and host of the Emmy-winning documentary collection Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath – who, like Haggis, is a former member of the Church of Scientology — was the final witness for the Oscar-winning Crash filmmaker, whose legal professionals rested their case on the trial’s 14th day.
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Choose Sabrina Kraus despatched jurors dwelling after they heard from Remini, and from a retired spinal surgeon referred to as by Haggis’ accuser, Haleigh Breest, to problem his declare that he wasn’t bodily able to forcing intercourse on her.
Talking over a stay video hyperlink from Beverly Hills, Remini stated that as a self-described advocate for survivors of abuse, she believes that rape victims deserve justice and their day in court docket. “Nonetheless, on this case I imagine it’s Paul who’s the sufferer right here,” she stated, echoing the protection declare that the litigation is Scientology’s revenge for Haggis quitting the church in 2009 and denouncing it within the media.
Haleigh Breest of New York sued Haggis in 2017 alleging that he raped her in his residence in Manhattan after a movie-screening celebration the place he was a VIP visitor and she or he was working as a publicist. Haggis testified that the intercourse was consensual and that Breest by no means portrayed it to the rest till her lawsuit virtually 5 years alter. He has referred to as the case a Scientology vendetta however didn’t produce a single witness or piece of documentation in court docket linking any of his accusers to the church he left in 2009.
Remini, way back to 2018, accused the church of a job in accusations by Breest and different ladies who got here ahead to allege the acclaimed Canadian filmmaker had sexually assaulted them. Haggis stated on the time that he was the sufferer of a “public hanging.” On the stand this month, he stated an investigative reporter advised him of proof that the church was trying to blackmail and even kidnap ladies to induce them to manufacture allegations in help of Breest’s lawsuit. His authorized staff has offered no documentation of this declare.
The church has denied any position within the civil case, and Haggis’ legal professionals agree there is no such thing as a proof that Breest herself has Scientology connections.
Remini and Haggis are allies in concerted media campaigns towards the church they stated dominated their lives, exalted them as achieved public figures and coaxed massive sums of cash from them in donations — Remini by a memoir, the TV present and a podcast, and Haggis by sitting for interviews that was a broadly circulated New Yorker article after which a e book and an HBO documentary collection about his journey by and out of Scientology.
Remini has stated that till 2013, when she give up Scientology, she was a high-ranking church member and a part of an “interior circle” of church leaders together with its chief, David Miscavage, and distinguished movie star members together with Tom Cruise. She testified that she knew and preferred Haggis for his good work inside and outdoors the church and that his daughters went to a Scientology faculty in Los Angeles run by Remini’s mom.
Remini stated she was “saddened” when Haggis publicly broke with the church in 2009 over disagreements together with its help of a voter referendum in California opposing homosexual marriage. Remini stated she needed him to remain however that quickly afterward, Miscavage and his chief enforcer, Tom Davis, had been “searching for issues to assault Paul [with].”
She stated she was advised to “disconnect” from Haggis — reduce off all contact — as a result of he was going to be labeled, in Scientology phrases, a “suppressive individual” or enemy of the church.
“I really feel that Paul is a sufferer right here of Scientology ‘honest recreation,’” Remini stated, alluding to the church’s reputed coverage of going all-out by litigation and covert means to discredit ex-members, like Haggis, who’ve publicly criticized Scientology. Remini and one other trial witness, Mike Rinder — a former Scientology lieutenant and behavioral enforcer who served below Davis — co-hosted a podcast referred to as Truthful Game.
Each stated on the stand that Scientology has tried to destroy them with campaigns of character assassination. Questioned by Priya Chaudhry, a lawyer for Haggis, Remini stated that after she left, the church purchased internet domains incorporating her identify and used them to submit selectively edited info from her so-called “auditing” classes — the Scientology model of confession utilizing a purported lie detector referred to as an E-Meter — courting again to her childhood to smear her.
Remini stated she was 7 years previous when her mom joined the church and the household moved from Brooklyn to Florida. Remini stated she underwent her first audit at age 8 and needed to “sit in a chair and be taught to not react to sexual content material and abuse.” She turned an auditor herself as she rose within the church hierarchy, and she or he stated that kids routinely had been requested for info of a sexual nature and likewise had been persuaded to imagine that they’d dedicated abuses in earlier lives.
“You had been coerced into believing you had been a person who had molested folks,” she stated. These confessions then went into private information.
Haggis has testified that he as soon as noticed a ceiling-high stack of his personal auditing information and that, as somebody raised in a working-class Catholic family in Canada, he confessed “all the pieces” — suggesting that if he had admitted to rape or something prefer it to a company that demanded complete disclosure and complete loyalty, Scientology would have leaked these accounts.
Three of the 4 Canadian ladies who’ve testified in help of Breest say their very own violent or scary encounters with Haggis occurred within the years earlier than he give up the church and went to the media together with his criticisms of its “cult” practices. Remini stated that the final names of two of the ladies — who Deadline isn’t figuring out — sounded acquainted to her from her days in Scientology.
On cross-examination, Remini advised a lawyer for Breest, Zoe Salzman, she had no proof that the final names proved any connection between Haggis’ accusers and the church. “That wouldn’t matter,” she stated, explaining, “You don’t should be a Scientologist or affiliated with Scientology for use by Scientology … to totally destroy somebody.”
Scientology’s effectiveness at hiding its position in payback operations is one other recurring theme of the protection, during which the absence of laborious proof is incessantly portrayed as proof of a dirty-tricks marketing campaign.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.
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