Leah Remini testifies on Paul Haggis’ behalf in rape trial
Actor Leah Remini testified Monday as a personality witness within the New York civil trial the place writer-director Paul Haggis is accused of raping publicist Haleigh Breest, suggesting the Oscar-winning director has been focused over time by the church he left in 2009.
Breest, 36, alleges that 69-year-old Haggis — who took the stand final week in his personal protection — had intercourse along with her with out her consent in 2013 after the 2 met at a movie pageant and went again to his house for a drink. Haggis says the encounter was consensual.
“Women and men who’ve been raped completely deserve justice, however on this case, it’s completely Paul who’s the sufferer right here,” Remini stated in a video name from her L.A. dwelling, Selection reported, although no proof has been offered at trial that will hyperlink Scientology to Breest’s allegations. The “Scientology and the Aftermath” host left the church in 2013 after 40 years of membership. She has been a vocal critic of it since.
“Scientology was heavy on the assault of Paul” because the 35-year member left the church, Remini stated. “And since this case, they’ve gone silent.”
Haggis’ protection has instructed the civil swimsuit is payback for his public criticism of the Church of Scientology, whereas Breest’s authorized workforce has dismissed that as a bogus conspiracy principle.
The church additionally rejected Remini’s testimony, saying in a press release Monday that it has “nothing to do with” the allegations in opposition to Haggis and no relationship with Breest, her attorneys or the three Jane Does who in 2018 accused the writer-director of sexual misconduct. “Outrageously, Remini accuses 4 ladies she doesn’t know, who haven’t any connection to Scientology in any respect, of committing perjury,” the assertion stated.
Throughout three days on the stand final week, the writer-director stated Breest flirted with him on the movie occasion the place she was working the purple carpet and willingly went to his place, the place he made a move inside minutes. Then she “appeared conflicted ultimately” when the 2 initially have been kissing, he stated, however he stated he thought she was being “playful” when she informed him up entrance that she wasn’t going to spend the night time with him.
The publicist “by no means gave me any indication it was something aside from consensual,” Haggis stated, based on Selection.
Breest finally started taking initiative of their encounter, Haggis testified, allegedly transferring him right into a place to obtain oral intercourse and telling him, “I’m good at this.” He stated he had no reminiscence of whether or not he had intercourse along with her however was dissatisfied the subsequent morning that she hadn’t left him a observe along with her telephone quantity on it.
Haggis testified Wednesday and Thursday and underwent cross-examination Thursday and Friday. Throughout redirect questioning from his lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, Haggis referred to as himself “a really flawed human being” however stated that he by no means sexually assaulted anybody.
The author-director admitted on the stand that he had at the least 20 affairs whereas married for twenty years to Deborah Rennard, who testified on his behalf Wednesday. She stated her ex had “nice relationships with ladies,” Selection reported, and that their 2016 divorce was extremely amicable.
Plaintiff Breest testified earlier within the trial that she didn’t reciprocate Haggis’ first two makes an attempt to kiss her however didn’t depart as a result of she didn’t need to offend a frequent premiere visitor. She stated he later pushed her onto a mattress, pulled off her garments, demanded oral intercourse after which raped her after she took a bathe.
The Related Press contributed to this report.