Paul Haggis, director of ‘Crash,’ ordered to pay $7.5 million in rape case


According to the Associated Press, a New York jury has found filmmaker Paul Hughes guilty in a sexual assault lawsuit brought by a publicist who alleges he sexually assaulted her in his Manhattan apartment in 2013.

The jury ordered Hughes, 69, to pay Haley Breast, 36, at least $7.5 million in damages, the AP reported, noting that the jury also decided he would later be liable for additional punitive damages. .

Alan Maziel, an attorney representing Brest, said in a statement, “We are thankful and grateful for the jury’s verdict. Justice was served today. This is a huge victory for Haley and the entire #MeToo movement.”

Haigs’ lawyer Priya Chaudhary said that they are disappointed and surprised by this decision. He said they “were not allowed to tell the jury a lot of critical things,” and that Hughes could not have had a fair trial.

Haigs is best known for writing the films “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash,” for which he won two Academy Awards in 2006 for best picture and best original screenplay. He also directed “Crush,” and shares writing credit on the film with Bobby Morisco.

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Breest filed a lawsuit against Haggis in December 2017 under New York City’s Victims of Gender-motivated Violence Protection Act. According to the complaint, Breest was working at a New York film premiere in January 2013 and accepted a ride home from Hughes. The document alleges that he pressured her to drink with him at his Soho apartment, instead of at a public bar as she said he suggested.

“Recognizing that Mr. Higgs was a powerful member of the Hollywood elite who could influence her career, and confronted by his persistence, Ms. Brest eventually became disillusioned and moved in with Mr. Higgs at his Mercer Street residence. Gone,” reads an amended complaint filed. New York Supreme Court in July 2018.

The complaint alleges that Brest was “suspicious, confused and extremely fearful” as Higgs forcibly kissed her at his residence and forced her to perform oral sex. According to Brest, he later sexually assaulted her.

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Both Higgs and Brist testified about the encounter. Haggis said she seemed “conflicted” at first but then took the initiative and “never gave me any indication that it was anything other than consent,” the AP reported. He said he had “no recollection” of intercourse.

Brest said she denied Higgs’ claims from that night that she had been flirting with him “for months” at industry events, and repeatedly asked him to stop when he made unwanted advances in her apartment, E. According to P. He added that at one point, he asked if she was afraid of him.

The jury was shown text messages Breest sent to a friend later that day. She wrote, “And I keep saying no … but I think it’s just an invitation or a challenge,” according to Deadline, which reported that Brist’s friends said they would “call this borderline rap.”

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Deadline reported that Brest’s attorneys also called four other women who have accused Hughes of sexual misconduct, including one who alleges he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s and three others who say he sexually assaulted them. Made sexual advances.

Hughes admitted to the jury that he had “a number of affairs” while married to actor Deborah Renard, who testified in her ex-husband’s defense and said he had “great relationships with women. I’ve never heard anything negative about it.” Have not heard,” said different. They married in 1997 and divorced in 2016, after years of separation.

Actress Leah Remini also testified as a character witness for Higgs, a fellow former scientist. Variety reported that she appeared via video chat and described Haigs as “the victim here,” presenting the lawsuit as an attack on the filmmaker for leaving the church. Before Remini’s testimony, according to Variety, both sides agreed that Scientology was irrelevant to the case.


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