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Paul Haggis trial: Publicist accuses filmmaker of rape, ‘I used to be like a trapped animal’ – Nationwide


He was a well-known moviemaker. She was a publicist working a movie premiere the place he was a VIP visitor. He’d supplied her a elevate residence after which invited her to his condominium for a drink.

In his condominium, screenwriter-director Paul Haggis had abruptly tried to kiss her, backed her into his fridge, and had a query for her, accuser Haleigh Breest informed a jury Thursday.

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“Are you frightened of me?” he requested, in accordance with her testimony.


Publicist Haleigh Breest, middle, is seen at New York Supreme Court docket, Monday, Oct 17, 2022, in New York. Opening statements are anticipated Wednesday, Oct. 19, in a civil case introduced by Breest, who accused Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis of raping her nearly a decade earlier.


AP Picture/Yuki Iwamura

And so started, Breest mentioned, a sexual assault that ended with the Oscar winner raping her. She’s suing him in a civil case that’s now on trial.

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Haggis maintains the 2013 encounter was consensual, and his lawyer has argued that Breest known as it rape as a result of she’s out for cash.

In a gradual, unsparing tone, Breest recounted what she mentioned was a terrifying, painful assault that left her shocked and “actually struggling to understand what had occurred.”

“I couldn’t perceive how someone who appeared like a pleasant man would try this,” she mentioned.


Click to play video: 'Leah Remini defends director Paul Haggis amid sexual assault allegations'


Leah Remini defends director Paul Haggis amid sexual assault allegations


As she spoke with out him, Haggis, 69, watched largely expressionlessly, typically rubbing his bearded chin or taking notes. He could select to testify later within the trial.

Breest, now 36, mentioned she first met the Haggis — recognized for writing Oscar finest footage winners Crash, which he additionally directed, and Million Greenback Child — in 2012 at a premiere afterparty. She had a aspect job with a company that coordinates such occasions.

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Breest and Haggis went on to alternate occasional skilled emails and get together chitchat, she mentioned, over the months earlier than their paths crossed once more at one other premiere get together on Jan. 31, 2013.

After they interacted a bit in the course of the occasion, a tipsy — however not stumbling drunk — Breest accepted the filmmaker’s supply of a trip, after which his invitation for a drink, she informed jurors. She mentioned she tried to shift the setting to someplace public, however he pushed for his condominium in Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood, and he or she didn’t wish to offend one in every of her employer’s red-carpet friends.

“However simply so you realize,” she testified that she informed him en route, “I’m not sleeping in SoHo tonight.”

But Haggis’ advances started as quickly as she put her baggage down in his loft’s open kitchen, Breest mentioned.

“You’ve been flirting with me for months,” he quickly mentioned, in accordance with her.

“I don’t even know you,” she mentioned she replied.

Breest mentioned she was capable of dodge and deflect his makes an attempt to kiss her for a bit, and thought she’d succeeded in politely defusing the scenario when he began a pleasant tour of the condominium. However as they checked out a visitor bed room, Haggis “grew to become aggressive in a short time,” pushed her onto the mattress and pulled off her tights and garments as she tried to maintain them on and informed him to cease, she mentioned.

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Then, she mentioned, he compelled her to carry out oral intercourse and wished intercourse. She mentioned she requested to take a bathe as a refined technique to get out of the room, however he adopted her there.

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Then, as she left the lavatory to attempt to get her garments, she mentioned, he put his fingers on her shoulders from behind, steered her again to the visitor bed room and made an extra sequence of undesirable sexual strikes that culminated in rape.

“I used to be like a trapped animal. There was nothing for me to do,” she mentioned.

Breest mentioned she handed out quickly afterward, awoke alone on the mattress the following morning and left with out seeing Haggis once more.

The Related Press usually doesn’t establish individuals who say they’ve been sexually assaulted except they arrive ahead publicly, as Breest has performed.

&copy 2022 The Canadian Press



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