Oscar winner Paul Haggis ordered to pay $7.5 million in civil rape case

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By Jack Queen

(Reuters) – A New York jury on Thursday found Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Paul Haggis liable for raping a publicist in his Manhattan apartment in 2013, ordering him to pay at least $7.5 in damages. million to pay in the civil case, a lawyer said.

The verdict came after a 15-day civil trial in Manhattan court. Plaintiff Haleigh Breest alleged in a 2017 complaint that Haggis, known for writing the films “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash”, raped her after urging her to join him at his SoHo loft after a movie premiere.

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Breest was one of four women who publicly accused Haggis of sexual misconduct in 2018. Haggis denied the allegations.

The jurors will return to court on Monday to weigh up the damages.

“Today justice has been done,” Breest’s attorney, Ilann M. Maaze, said in an email. “We are so proud of Haleigh. This is a big win for her and for the entire #MeToo movement.”

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Haggis’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. Haggis has denied the allegations and testified in his own defense at the trial.

In June, Haggis was arrested by Italian authorities and held for more than two weeks on charges of assault and grievous bodily harm. Haggis has denied the allegations.

(Reporting by Jack Queen; editing by Stephen Coates)

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