Paul Haggis loses rape case and has to pay Halle Priest $7.5 million

Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis was found Thursday responsible for the rape of a publicist nearly a decade ago and now has to pay $7.5 million in damages.

Haley Priest sued the director of “Crash” in 2017, accusing him of violently raping her in his Soho apartment on January 31, 2013, after the film’s premiere.

After a three-week trial in the Manhattan Supreme Court, a jury of four women and two men returned a ruling in Priest’s favor after a day of deliberation, finding that Haggis had forced her to perform three separate sex acts.

The jurors also decided that Haggis, 69, should take responsibility for punitive damages. The second phase of the trial will begin on Monday to determine how much to give.

Out of court, Priest said she was “extremely grateful”. Her lawyer, Zoe Salzman, added: “We are pleased with the jury’s outcome.”

Haggis showed no emotion when reading the verdict, though one of his daughters burst into tears. However, on the outside, he said he was “very disappointed with the results and I and my team will continue to fight to clear my name and keep our options open as to what we will do.”

Brest Witnessed for four days About the alleged rape, describing how she felt like a “trapped animal” during the encounter.

Priest — then 26 — said after the movie’s premiere, the “Million Dollar Baby” screenwriter offered to give her a ride home at his car service.

Haley Priest in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The jury sided with publicist Haley Priest three weeks into the trial.
Stephen Hirsch

But Haggis then lured Priest to his loft apartment on Mercer Street because of her protest that they had gone to a public bar instead, she recounted.

Once inside, Priest – whose cell phone is dead – claimed that she tried to refuse Haggis’ kisses and eventually fought him as he tried to take off her tights as soon as she entered the guest bedroom.

Priest said Haggis forced her to have oral sex before raping her.

The next day, Priest sent a friend text messages, in which she wrote “she kept saying no” to Haggis – letters that were presented at the trial.

Brest lawyer Ilan Mazel He told the jury Wednesday During closing arguments, Haggis is considered a “monster” and a “psychopath”.

Mazel also said Priest was traumatized and still suffers to this day from recurring memories of the accident. He said his client had only had sex once since then, had no boyfriend and was unable to marry and start a family.

Haggis confirmed that the accident was consensual and He told the jury Within three days of testifying that he only remembers Brest having oral sex – contradicting her testimony that he, too, was forced to have intercourse.

Haggis also claimed that the Church of Scientology is behind Priest’s accusations as well as the allegations of four other women, who also have Witnessed Haggis raped and sexually assaulted them.

claims the church Cooking alleged false allegations against him as part of their revenge for his public separation from the church in 2009 after more than 30 years in his membership.

Halle Priest

Haley Priest earned $7.5 million.

Halle Priest

Brest won the civil case against Haggis.

Halle Priest

Brest smiles after winning her civilian suit.

“King of Queens” actress Leah Remini, who is also a former Scientologist, Watched the video Monday The Church uses litigation to “destroy” its enemies and asserts that Haggis was “the victim here”.

After the verdict, Chaudhry told The Post in a statement that they were “disappointed and shocked by the verdict”.

Choudary said that the judge’s decision to withhold certain evidence and allow others to enter the trial — such as the testimony of the other defendants — harmed her client’s shooting in a fair trial.

“It was impossible for Mr. Haggis to have a fair trial once the judge allowed the statements of four other women who had not gone to the police and had not taken any action against him, and three of the four had not come into the courtroom,” Chaudhry said. “They used this to distort the truth, to assassinate Mr. Haggis’ character, to portray him as a monster, and to use the ‘where there is smoke, there is fire’ strategy.”

Choudary said the trial was a “shameful exploitation of the #MeToo movement where political sentiment trumps facts.”

On Monday, Scientology denied any connection to the case against Haggis.

“For more than a decade, Haggis has written false stories about the Church in an effort to distract attention from any misdeeds he has done,” the church said in a statement. “The Church has nothing to do with the lawsuits against Haggis and has nothing to do with the defendants or the lawyers suing the case.”

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