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Judge Orders Paul Haggis To Shell Out $7.5 Million After Director Was Found Liable In Rape Case

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Source: mega

Nov. 10 2022, Published 6:17 p.m. ET

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Paul Haggis has been found liable on three counts of rape and sexual abuse against Haleigh Breest. The disgraced filmmaker had been accused of assaulting the publicist in both 2013 and 2017.

The jury, comprised of four men and two women, deliberated for six hours before reaching their conclusion. Following their decision, a judge ordered Haggis to pay Breest $7.5 million.

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The director will also likely face punitive damages, the amount of which will not be decided until Monday, November 14. However, he will not face jail time as this was a civil suit, not a criminal case.

"I am grateful that I had the opportunity to seek justice and accountability in court — and that the jury chose to follow the facts — and believed me," Breest later said in a statement. "The greatest source of comfort through this five year legal journey has been the support I felt from the women who bravely shared their own stories and let me know I wasn’t alone."

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The young woman's lawyers, Saldana and Ilan Maazel, directly addressed the court win in a statement shared on Thursday, November 10, sharing they were "pleased to see justice served" for their client.

"After the jury heard a mountain of undeniable evidence against Mr. Haggis, they did the right thing and held him accountable for his deplorable behavior," they continued. "We commend Ms. Breest for the bravery it took to come forward. She stood up for herself and for all women."

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The sexual assault survivor's therapist Catherine Baker-Pitts, who treated her for several years from 2017 until 2019, also weighed in on the legal proceedings, agreeing that "justice was served" after the verdict was read.

Breest, who was only 26-years-old in 2013, previously claimed Haggis repeatedly forced "unwanted advances" on her and both raped her as well as coerced her into performing oral sex on him.

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"I thought I was getting a ride home. I agreed to have a drink. What happened never should have happened," Breest told the jury. "And it had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with him and his actions."

The filmmaker argued to the jury that the publicist was "flirtatious" with him, and while she had been hesitant at times, he insisted the sexual encounters were consensual.

Deadline reported the jury's decision and both Breest and her lawyers' statements.

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