Paul Haggis Testifies in Rape Trial That He Never Forced Himself on Accuser
In a rape case, Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Hattis stated Thursday that his accuser appeared “conflicted” at times during their first kisses, but then began to take initiative.
Haggis took the witness stand for the second day of a civil trial and portrayed Haleigh Breest as a willing partner in their one-to-one sexual interaction.
In the civil trial, Breest, 36, stated that she repeatedly and clearly told Haggis that she was not interested in having sex with him. She said the Crash and Million Dollar Baby screenwriter forced her to perform oral sex and then raped her as she implored him to stop.
According to Haggis, Breest, a publicist who worked at film premieres, had a brief affair with him at a January 2013 afterparty before going to his Manhattan apartment for drinks. He said that she had told him beforehand that she wouldn’t be spending the night with him, but it seemed like a “playful” comment.
He made a pass in minutes after they arrived.
Hours of testimony later, Haggis admitted that Breest was sometimes reticent about what he called five episodes of kissing.
He stated that he once told her: “If it’s something you want to do, do it.” If you don’t want to do it .”
Haggis stated that “She seemed conflicted” in some way.
He said that Breest seemed to gain confidence with each kiss and reassure him by initiating the kissing whenever he expressed the ambivalence that he was feeling.
Breest was “confident” when they reached a guest room and began to kiss. Haggis said that they eventually poured onto a guestroom mattress. He said that Breest “giggled” when their physical activity got more intense and they shed some clothes.
He claimed that she eventually moved him to oral sex and said: “I’m good with this .”
Haggis stated, “The way she said it was kinda adorable.”
He claimed he had no knowledge or memory of her vaginally perforating.
He said, “I don’t know if it happened or not.”
He claimed he fell asleep and went to his bedroom as she was sleeping. He said that he was disappointed to discover that she had not left a note with his phone number when he found out she was gone.
Breest claims that she didn’t reciprocate Haggis’ two attempts to kiss her. He also tried to pin her against a refrigerator once. She didn’t leave because she didn’t want to offend a frequent guest at the premiere. She said that he later forced her onto a bed, pulled off her clothes, demanded oral sex, and then raped her after she had taken a shower.
Haggis emailed her about photos from the previous night’s premiere the day after. He stated that he hoped that the reply would include his number. It didn’t.
Haggis said that Haggis was friendly and smiling when they met at another 10 event days later. She also added that it was awkward because sometimes, after a first sexual encounter, things can get awkward.
He stated that he decided two days later she was “too emotionally mature” and stopped responding her emails.
Haggis stated that Breest would be “noticeably absent” from her usual red-carpet position whenever he brought a girl to events where she worked. He said that she was friendly and behaved normal when he wasn’t with a woman during the 4 1/2 years that separated their sexual encounter and the filing her lawsuit.
He claimed that he had never told anyone about his night out with Breest. His lawyer asked him how often it was something he thought about. He replied, “Honest to God, never .”
Haggis was also asked why DNA wasn’t provided in connection to the lawsuit.
He stated that his only concern was that the lawsuit would fall into the hands Scientologists as he had a growing suspicion that they were involved in the lawsuit. His defense suggested that the case was a payback for Haggis’ public criticism of Church of Scientology.
Breest’s lawyers and the church have called this argument a bogus conspiracy theory.
The lawyers for Haggis have confirmed that Breest is not connected to Scientology. Witnesses have not provided any evidence linking Haggis to her lawyers, or to four other women than Breest who also testified that Haggis sexually assaulted them.
Haggis, in emotional testimony, denied the allegations of the other women. He said that he felt “humiliated” while testifying to the accusations as his adult daughters watched. He asked for a short break and walked out of court with his one daughter wrapped around him.
He later said to the jury that he was scared because he didn’t know why women or anyone would lie about things such as this .”
Unless they are willing to come forward publicly, the Associated Press does not usually name those who claim they were sexually assaulted. Breest did.
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