Jury adds $2.5million in damages to rape verdict as filmmaker Haggis vows to appeal

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Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis was ordered Monday to pay $2.5 million in additional damages in a rape lawsuit, bringing the total to $10 million for a woman who said she sexually assaulted her a while ago. almost ten years.

While lawyers for accuser Haleigh Breest called the verdict fair, Haggis insisted he was falsely accused and financially ruined fighting the civil case. He swore to appeal.

“I can’t live with lies like that. I will die clearing my name,” he said as he left the New York court.

Breest, a publicist, said Haggis raped her and forced her to perform oral sex in his New York City apartment on January 31, 2013. He says they had a consensual encounter.

The jury sided with Breest last week, awarded her $7.5 million in compensatory damages for suffering and ruled she also owed punitive damages. Jurors returned to court on Monday to hear testimony about Haggis’ finances and decide how much more he should pay.

They got a quick lesson on film financing as Haggis was asked about his earnings on films such as Academy Award-winning Best Picture winners ‘Crash’ and ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and James Bond movies ‘Casino Royale. and “Quantum of Solace”.

While explaining the intricacies of screenwriters’ compensation, he estimated that in his four decades in television and film, he earned up to $25 million – before taxes, agent fees and other representatives and division of assets with his two ex-wives.

The 69-year-old filmmaker told Monday’s hearing that he had suffered various financial losses over the years, including the destruction of an uninsured home in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, but that the trial de Breest had annihilated it. He said his legal bills exceeded $2.6 million, while his career abruptly dried up.

“I spent all the money I had. I emptied my pension plan, I lived on loans, to pay for this case in a very naive belief in justice,” he told the court.

Breest’s lawyers questioned Haggis’ claims that he was broke.

“Nothing Paul Haggis says is trustworthy,” attorney Ilann Maazel said.

After the verdict, he said the jury “did the right thing”. The jurors left the court without comment.

Breest, 36, said she suffered both professional and psychological harm from what happened after she accepted an invitation for drinks at her flat after a movie premiere.

She declined to comment on Monday. In a statement after the initial verdict on Thursday, she said she appreciated “the opportunity to seek justice and accountability in court _ and that the jury chose to follow the facts _ and believed me.”

She sued for unspecified damages. Haggis has not been criminally charged in this case.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Breest did.

Top Photo: Screenwriter and director Paul Haggis, center, talks to a reporter after leaving court after being found guilty in a civil sexual assault lawsuit, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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