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In a civil rape trial, a jury finds Paul Haggis guilty and orders the director to pay $7.5 million in restitution

Paul Haggis, an Oscar-winning Canadian filmmaker, has lost his civil rape trial against a publicist who accused him of sexual assault after a movie premiere almost a decade ago. On Thursday, a New York jury ruled in favour of the victim, finding the director guilty of all three counts of rape and sexual abuse. He was ordered to pay the publicist at least $7.5 million in restitution.

Following a two-week trial in Manhattan, the unanimous jury of four men and two women deliberated for about six hours before reaching a decision in the civil rape lawsuit against Haggis, who wrote and directed the hit film ‘Crash.’

Haleigh Breest, a film publicist, accused the 69-year-old of abusing and raping her in 2013, when she was only 26 years old. She claimed that the director coerced her into having oral sex with her before raping her in his Soho apartment.

Following the verdict, the plaintiff stated that she was ‘very grateful’ for the ‘opportunity to seek justice and accountability in court and that the jury chose to follow the facts’ and believe her.

At the 2013 event, Breest was working as a freelancer and Haggis was a guest. The director does not deny the sexual encounter, but he claims it was consensual.

In the Breest case, Haggis is not facing any criminal charges.


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