Paul Haggis concludes testimony by saying he's 'a deeply broken person' but not a rapist – Update

Paul Haggis concludes testimony by saying he’s ‘a deeply broken person’ but not a rapist – Update

UPDATE with more testimonials, 4:33 p.m.: Paul Haggis finished testifying in his civil sexual assault trial in New York on Friday, saying he was still the “deeply broken person” he called himself in 2011. New Yorker article about his leaving the Church of Scientology, but not a rapist.

RELATED: Paul Haggis Sexual Assault Civil Lawsuit: Full Deadline Coverage

“Oh, my God, no,” Haggis said when his attorney, Priya Chaudhry, asked if being deeply broken included committing sexual assault. It was his last statement to jurors after three days on the stand challenging a claim by a New York woman, Haleigh Breest, that the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Accident and Million Dollar Baby raped her in her Manhattan apartment in 2013. The two had been to an after-party movie screening for Side effects where Haggis was a guest and Breest, a publicist, worked.

Haggis spent the 13th day of the trial defending the sex he had with Breest as consensual and his interactions with four other women who testified against him as misunderstood or fabricated. He maintained that his former church – which has a reputation for being secretive and retaliating against former vocal members – is involved in Breest’s trial, even though his lawyers have stipulated for the judge and jury that he will not There is no evidence that Breest has any connection to Scientology.

A lawyer for Breest, Ilann Maazel, demanded that Haggis show proof of links between his former church and the four Jane Does who testified that Haggis assaulted them or attempted to assault them in separate incidents between 1996 and 2015. Haggis publicly left Scientology in 2009. Her responses to Maazel ranged from “I have no way of knowing” to “other than what has already been said” – a reference to one of the women who worked for a company run by Haggis’ sister, Kathy Slevin, who turned against him. when he left the church. (The Deadline does not identify any accuser other than the complainant.)

“Did you even subpoena the Church of Scientology for documents?” Mazel said.

“You can’t,” Haggis said before Chaudhry rose to object.

His lawyers have asked to put actress and ex-Scientologist Leah Remini on the stand via live video link when the trial resumes on Monday. The former star of kings of queens was co-host of the Emmy Award-winning documentary series, Scientology and the Consequences, which featured Haggis as a guest. At the end of court on Friday, it emerged that Remini was still on the witness list despite the judge’s concerns about the length of the trial after 13 days spread over three weeks.

In a lawsuit with vastly different accounts of the same events, Haggis said a woman who accused him of assaulting her outside her Toronto apartment in 2015 was actually his date – despite having says she wasn’t romantically interested in him – and he dropped her off from a cab ride with a friendly goodbye. The woman, an independent producer, said she spent two days at the Toronto International Film Festival keeping Haggis at bay, while meeting him once for lunch, and cursed him for riding in a taxi she had hailed to get away. from him.

Haggis said on cross-examination that he offered to walk the woman home or share a taxi with her. Maazel said his address and his hotel room were in opposite directions, and he got out of the taxi at his building and sent him on his way. He then sent the woman several text messages overnight and the next morning, only one of which she replied with a busy at work reply.

“Didn’t you know she changed your name from ‘Paul Haggis’ to ‘motherf*cker?'” Maazel asked, referring to the woman’s cellphone contacts.

On Thursday, Haggis produced a credit card bill showing a taxi ride that night which he said refuted the woman’s testimony that Haggis had thrown money at the driver and followed her out. taxi. On Friday, he agreed with Maazel that the credit card details did not show times or routes.

He admitted to telling another woman during a 2008 meeting in his Los Angeles office that he was attracted to her, despite being married, and tried to kiss her. But he denied trying to force her at any time. He said — as he did in his 2019 deposition — that just because she turned her head to avoid that kiss doesn’t mean she wasn’t interested in him. “It’s a signal that she doesn’t want to be kissed right away,” he said. He said he walked her to her car and they separated.

The woman, in a deposition played for jurors, said she went to his office to talk about an idea for a book adaptation and ended up fleeing the building for fear of being raped. Both Canadian, the two stayed in touch via email afterward and collaborated on a US work visa application for her that appeared to contain misleading statements about a future film role for the woman, who worked at the television in Toronto. Haggis said all the lies in the app were his, not his.

“You never paid [the woman] something for this movie, do you? Mazel said.

Haggis said he wrote her in a screenplay, but “she never contacted me again.”

Jurors also heard from Haggis’ personal assistant of 23 years, Gian Sardar Schwehr, who said she had had bosses who sexually harassed her, but never Haggis.

Judge Sabrina Kraus had hoped to return the case to jurors for deliberations today, but the trial will continue until Monday and, Kraus told jurors, likely Wednesday. “Unfortunately, we haven’t made the progress we hoped for,” she said. The court is dark on election day. One of the three alternate jurors supporting the panel of three men and three women is dropping the lawsuit after today, Kraus said.

PREVIOUSLY, 12:48 p.m.: Paul Haggis argued with a lawyer on Friday over the meaning of a woman saying “no”, again explaining that when Haleigh Breest said “no” to him as she took off her pantyhose, she was not refusing sex.

“She didn’t say ‘no’ like you want to say ‘no,'” Haggis said in a 2019 deposition played for jurors by Breest’s lawyer Ilann Maazel in the Oscar-winning film. Accident civil lawsuit for sexual assault of a filmmaker in New York. Breest says Haggis raped her in his Manhattan apartment after a movie night in 2013 where he was a guest and where she worked as a publicist. She is suing him for unspecified damages.

A lawyer for Haggis said on Friday he wanted jurors to hear testimony from former Queens King’s Star Leah Remini, who, like Haggis, is a former member of the Church of Scientology and a prominent critic of the organization. An attorney for Breest, Zoe Salzman, objected, saying Remini would only duplicate the testimony of other ex-Scientologists.

With jurors out of the courtroom, Priya Chaudhry, a lawyer for Haggis, called the duplication argument “laughable” given that Breest’s lawyers enlisted four women to testify that Haggis sexually assaulted them or attempted to do so. Chaudhry also said Remini – who won an Emmy for his documentary series, Scientology and the Consequenceswhich featured Haggis as a guest – might be sick with the flu.

“If we’re done today, I’m not going to keep him waiting because this trial has to end,” Judge Sabrina Kraus said.

The judge added that she wanted closing arguments on Monday because the court will be dark on Election Day on Tuesday.

Haggis testified Thursday that Breest was saying no as an expression of discomfort with his body image. “At that point, she started squirming and laughing and said, ‘No, no, I don’t want you to see me. I am fat.’ I said, ‘You’re not fat, you’re adorable,'” Haggis told jurors questioned by Chaudhry. He said Breest helped him take his pantyhose off after he turned off the light in the bedroom and that she had initiated oral sex.

On Friday, Maazel said: “‘No’ doesn’t always mean no to you, is it right?” raising an objection from Chaudhry. Maazel then replayed a piece of Haggis’ 2019 deposition in which he talked about “texts and subtexts” and put “the word in context.”

Maazel’s cross-examination, which began Thursday, offered jurors a different context: Breest suggesting they go to a bar instead of Haggis’ apartment, then agreeing to go to his house but insisting that she wouldn’t make it through the night, then breaking off a series of kisses around the apartment, saying, “We shouldn’t.”

Maazel replayed part of Haggis’ deposition in which he said that when a woman says, “I don’t just drop in overnight like that, it usually means we can have sex, but I don’t won’t sleep here. ”

Breest testified last month that Haggis insulted and pinned her against a refrigerator, forced her to perform oral sex and submit to him for sex, and thrust his fingers inside her as she said no to many times. Breest testified that she had no romantic interest in Haggis, but felt “forced” to return home with him as a publicist working on film screenings and afterparties in New York or as a friend of Haggis who often invited him to attend.

Haggis’ lawyers reported text messages and emails between Breest and her friends indicating their interest in seeing him again after the night she says she was raped.

Haggis testified that the two had expressed “interest” in each other for months before at events and were “playful” and “flirty” at the Jan. 31, 2013, party and afterwards at his apartment.

Haggis testified that Breest’s protests of “I shouldn’t” were offered in a “kitten-y” manner that reminded her of the vintage female cartoon character Betty Boop. He also said that when Breest bragged about her oral sex skills, it reminded her of an animated female character from the movie. Who Framed Roger Rabbit. “The way she said it was kind of adorable,” he said. “It was almost like her Jessica Rabbit impersonation.”

On Friday, Maazel posted illustrations of Betty Boop and Jessica Rabbit, cartoon characters with exaggerated female bodies and revealing clothing, for jurors to look at. Maazel asked Haggis if he knew Boop as “a sexist, degrading cartoon character”, but was cut off by a successful objection from Chaudhry.

Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.

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