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 provided her a carry dwelling after which invited her to his condo for a drink.

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

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

Publicist Haleigh Breest, middle, is seen at New York Supreme Courtroom, 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 referred to 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 grasp what had occurred.”

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

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As she spoke with out taking a look at him, Haggis, 69, watched largely expressionlessly, generally 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 — identified for writing Oscar greatest footage winners Crash, which he additionally directed, and Million Greenback Child — in 2012 at a premiere afterparty. She had a facet job with a corporation that coordinates such occasions.

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

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

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

But Haggis’ advances started as quickly as she put her luggage 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 state of affairs when he began a pleasant tour of the condo. 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 instructed 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 delicate method to get out of the room, however he adopted her there.

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Then, as she left the toilet 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 collection 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 determine individuals who say they’ve been sexually assaulted except they arrive ahead publicly, as Breest has performed.

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