Bond writer Paul Haggis says he was framed by the Church of Scientology over rape allegations

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Paul Haggis, the Bond writer, tried to blame the Church of Scientology for setting him up as a jury found him liable for damages for rape claims.

Haggis, who wrote several Bond films, has been ordered to pay $7.5 million (£6.4 million) to publicist Haleigh Breest who charged him with alleged sexual assault after a screen party in New York in 2013.

Mr. Haggis had been a prominent member of the Church of Scientology for many years, until he left and became an outspoken critic.

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Haggis was questioned at trial about his claim that the Church of Scientology was behind all the allegations of sexual misconduct against him, highlighting a line from a 2011 New Yorker article about the filmmaker’s break with religion: “My guess is that, in two years’ time, you’re going to be reading about me in a scandal that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the church.”

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‘Shameful and unsupported conspiracy’

Mr. Haggis, one of the many writers on Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, had to admit that there was no evidence that Ms. Breest was associated with Scientology, but testified, “These people don’t leave fingerprints.”

Ms Breest’s lawyers called it “an embarrassing and unsupported conspiracy theory.” The church has rigorously denied any connection.

Ms. Breest, 36, told a New York court that Mr. Haggis, the Canadian screenwriter who is also known for writing Oscar winners Million Dollar Baby and Crash, offered her a ride home and invited her to his house in 2013. Manhattan apartment for a drink.

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Ms Breest said Mr Haggis subsequently subjected her to unwanted advances and eventually forced her to have oral sex and raped her despite her pleas to stop.