Paul Haggis Gets Trial Date in Rape Lawsuit in New York

Director Paul Haggis, now under house arrest on sexual assault charges in Italy, has gotten a trial date for his rape lawsuit in New York.

The trial is set to begin on Oct. 11, before Judge Sabrina Kraus in Manhattan. A film publicist, Haleigh Breest, sued Haggis in December 2017, alleging that he raped her at his apartment in January 2013 after a premiere. Haggis has claimed that the encounter was consensual and that the lawsuit is nothing more than an extortion attempt.

Haggis is best known for writing and directing the Oscar-winning “Crash,” and wrote the screenplay for “Million Dollar Baby.” He is also a prominent former member of the Church of Scientology, appearing in both “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” and “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.”

Haggis was arrested in Italy on June 19, after a woman told police that he had twice forced her to have non-consensual sex. His attorneys have denied those allegations as well. After a hearing last week, a judge ordered him to remain on house arrest pending further proceedings. His attorney, Michele Laforgia, said Haggis intends to “remain in Italy until his total innocence is definitively proven.”

The New York lawsuit has been on hold for more than a year, thanks in part to delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Haggis has sought to expedite the trial, saying that he faces mounting legal bills and cannot work until he clears his name. But last September, a judge denied his motion to put the case on a faster track.

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