Filmmaker Haggis says he never forced himself on the radio

Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis told a court hearing on Thursday that the woman who accused him of rape sometimes seemed “conflicting” during their initial kiss but then began to take the initiative. .

Taking evidence for the second day of the civil trial, Mr. Haggis portrayed the woman, Haleigh Breest, as a willing partner in their solitary sex.

Ms Breest, 36, gave evidence earlier in the civil trial that she had repeatedly and clearly told Haggis, 69, that she was not interested in having sex with him.

She said the Crash and Million Dollar Baby writer forced her to perform oral sex and then raped her when she asked him to stop.

Mr. Haggis said Breest, a journalist who has worked at movie premieres, flirted with him at a January 2013 after-show party before joining him at his Manhattan apartment for a drink.

He agreed that she had told him in advance that she wouldn’t be spending the night, but he said it sounded like a “playful” comment.


Screenwriter and Film Director Paul Haggis (Julia Nikhinson / AP)

When they arrived, he was over within minutes.

During hours of testifying, Mr Haggis admitted that Ms Breest was sometimes reluctant about what he said were five different kisses.

He said he told her at one point: “If you want to do something, do it. If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it.”

Video of the day

“She seemed conflicted in a way,” Mr. Haggis said.

But with each kiss, he said, Miss Breest seemed to gain confidence and reassure him by initiating the kiss as he showed the ambience he was beginning to feel.

When they reached the guest bedroom, Ms Breest seemed “confident” as they began to kiss and eventually moved to the bed in the living room, Mr Haggis said.

He said she “giggles” as their physical activity gets hotter and they shed some of their clothes.


Paul Haggis hugs his daughter, Lauren (Julia Nikhinson/AP)

He said that she eventually moved him into position for oral sex, saying, “I’m good at this.”

“The way she spoke was lovely,” Mr. Haggis said.

He said he “knew nothing” and “remembered nothing” about penetrating her vagina.

“I don’t know if it happened,” he said.

He said he fell asleep and ended up going into his bedroom while she was sleeping.

When he found out that she had gone in the morning, he was disappointed that she hadn’t left a piece of paper with her phone number on it, he said.

In Ms Breest’s account, she failed to respond to Mr. Haggis’s two attempts to kiss her, once when pressing her against the refrigerator, but did not leave because she did not want to offend a frequent visitor.

She said he then pushed her into bed, pulled her clothes off, aggressively demanded oral sex and, after she showered, raped her.

Mr Haggis emailed her the next day about the photos from the night’s premiere. He said he hoped the reply would have her number. It didn’t do.

Mr Haggis recalled, when they met at another event 10 days later, she was smiling and friendly, adding that their meeting was “a bit awkward”, sometimes occurring after the sexual experience with someone initially.

He said he decided two days later that she was “too emotionally immature” and stopped responding to her emails.

Mr Haggis later said Mrs Breest would be “significantly absent” from her routine red carpet post whenever he took his girlfriend to events where she worked.

But he said she was friendly and behaved normally when he was without a woman in his arms for the four-and-a-half years between their sexual encounter and the filing of her lawsuit.

He said he never told anyone about his night with Miss Breest.

When the lawyer asked him how often he thought about it, he replied, “Honestly with God, never.”

Mr. Haggis was also asked why he objected to providing DNA in connection with the lawsuit.

He said his only concern was that it would fall into the hands of the Scientists because he was “increasingly suspicious” that they had a role in the lawsuit.

His defense argued that the incident was a response to Mr Haggis’ public criticism of the Church of Scientology, which he left in 2009.

Breest’s church and lawyers have called that argument a bogus conspiracy theory.

Mr. Haggis’s attorneys agreed that Ms. Breest had nothing to do with Scientology. None of the witnesses said they had concrete evidence linking the church to her attorneys or to four other women besides Ms Breest, who testified that Mr Haggis also sexually assaulted them.

Mr Haggis denied the other women’s accusations in emotional testimony, adding that he felt “humiliated” to testify about the accusations as his adult daughters watched.

At one point, he asked to take a short break, walking out of court with a daughter’s arm around him.

“I’m scared,” he later told the jury, “because I don’t know why women, why anyone, would lie about things like this.”

Ms. Breest has waived her right to remain anonymous. Filmmaker Haggis says he never forced himself on the radio

Fry Electronics Team

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