Paul Haggis is a Canadian screenwriter, film producer, and film and television director. Haggis was arrested in Italy on accusations of sexual assault. Now, his case has now been dismissed by an Italian court.
Paul’s sexual assault case was dismissed by a court in the southern Italian city. The Judge concluded that there are no grounds to continue an investigation into allegations that filmmaker Paul Haggis had sex with a young woman without her consent. The court ruled in favor of Haggis late on Friday, according to the Italian news agency ANSA on Saturday.
According to Variety, Haggis’ Italian lawyer, Michele Laforgia, confirmed it in a statement issued on Saturday.
“After viewing the evidence and hearing arguments from both sides, the District Court of Lecce, an appellate court with three judges, unanimously rejected a prosecutor’s appeal to have Haggis’ house arrest reinstated.”
Haggis, who won two Oscars for “Crash” and also wrote “Million Dollar Baby,” was arrested on June 19th in Ostuni, a location on the heel of the Italian boot in the southern province of Puglia. He was arrested in June on charges of sexual assault on a 28-year-old British woman over the course of two days. The 69-year-old director was placed under house arrest at a hotel for 16 days before being released.
“Two weeks ago, Judge Vilma Gilli of the Court of Brindisi questioned the alleged victim and then immediately overturned Haggis’ house arrest.”
The Brindisi Prosecutor appealed her decision to the Court of Lecce, where Haggis’ lawyer provided what he called “irrefutable and objective evidence that the woman told multiple lies to investigators and the court, with facts and witnesses completely contradicting her story.” The accused victim’s legal team did not respond immediately.
According to Laforgia, Haggis’ detention was the result of a judicial error, and the prosecution must immediately conclude the case based on the facts. Unless fresh evidence emerges, this is anticipated to happen in the next weeks. On Friday evening, the Court of Lecce called the attorneys for both sides to inform them of the court’s judgment, which rejected the public prosecutor’s appeal and confirmed Judge Gilli’s ruling. Four judges have now decided in Haggis’ favor.
“In the coming weeks, the reasons for the decision will be known and, therefore, so will the fate of the judicial proceedings pending in Italy.”
Haggis is also facing legal action in the United States, where he is being sued by film publicist Haleigh Breest, who claims Haggis raped her in January 2013. Breest originally filed suit in December 2017, but procedures were postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Haggis claims the contact with Breest, which allegedly occurred after a premiere, was consensual.
A trial date in Manhattan has already been set for October 11th. Let’s see what happens. To get the latest updates, keep an eye on Thirsty.
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