Opening statements are anticipated Wednesday in a civil case introduced by a publicist who accused Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis of raping her virtually a decade in the past.
Jury choice started Monday in a Manhattan courtroom.
The lawsuit was filed in 2017 as a wave of sexual misconduct accusations in opposition to distinguished males was propelling the #MeToo motion to new visibility. At the least 4 different girls subsequently alleged that Haggis, a screenwriter recognized for “Crash” and “Million Greenback Child,” sexually assaulted them or tried to take action.
The New York lawsuit centres on the publicist’s allegation that Haggis provided her a journey residence from a film premiere, invited her to his condominium for a drink, rebuffed her suggestion that they go to a public bar as an alternative, after which raped her.
The filmmaker, who declined to remark as he left courtroom Monday, maintains that the encounter was consensual.
His defence may function an allegation of sinister intrigue: His attorneys have urged that the Church of Scientology engineered false accusations of sexual misdeeds to break Haggis, a former long-time member who turned an outspoken critic.
The church has mentioned it had no involvement within the allegations in opposition to Haggis, and his accuser’s attorneys have known as it “a shameful and unsupported conspiracy concept unworthy of any trial continuing.”
However Decide Sabrina Kraus dominated final month that Haggis’ attorneys can convey up Scientology, saying that “the jury is entitled to be told of any potential motive (the) plaintiff might have and concerning the church’s efforts to discredit Haggis.”
No felony fees have been filed in reference to the publicist’s accusation. Her lawsuit may imply a monetary penalty, however not jail or probation for Haggis if she prevails. She is looking for unspecified damages.
After the go well with was filed in late 2017, three different girls advised her attorneys and the Related Press that Haggis had sexually assaulted them or tried to take action. One mentioned he had raped her. In response, his lawyer mentioned Haggis “didn’t rape anyone.”
Kraus dominated final month that these three girls may testify as a part of the plaintiff’s effort to show Haggis’ “intent and lack of consent.”
Jurors gained’t be allowed to listen to that Haggis was detained for about two weeks at an Italian resort in June whereas authorities investigated allegations that he sexually assaulted a lady there. Haggis was in Italy for an arts pageant.
Haggis’ Italian legal professional mentioned the filmmaker was harmless, and in early July, a choose launched him whereas prosecutors thought of whether or not to pursue their inquiry. The choose concluded that Haggis hadn’t engaged in “constrictive violent habits,” in keeping with the newspaper Corriere della Sera.
The Canadian-born Haggis wrote “Million Greenback Child” and “Crash,” which gained back-to-back Academy Awards for finest image within the mid-2000s. He additionally directed and was a producer of “Crash,” which garnered him and Bobby Moresco the very best authentic screenplay Oscar in 2006. The following yr, Haggis was nominated in the identical class for “Letters from Iwo Jima.”