New York jury to begin deliberations in Oscar winner Paul Haggis’ rape trial

The Paul Haggis rape trial in New York City is nearing its finale, with jury deliberations set to begin Thursday.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker is accused of raping a publicist at his Soho apartment in 2013, which he denies.

Jurors will make their decision in the civil trial after hearing testimonies from Haggis and his accuser, Haleigh Breest, in recent weeks.

Breest, 36, testified last month that she felt like a “trapped animal” after going to Haggis’ apartment for a drink following a 2013 movie premiere, claiming the director “became aggressive very quickly,” forced her to perform oral sex and raped her.

Paul Haggis at his civil trial in New York on Nov. 2.

“This is a horror film by Paul Haggis, and only you can end it,” Ilann Maazel, who represents Breest, told jurors on Wednesday.

Haggis testified earlier this month that he believed their encounter to be consensual, with his lawyer saying Wednesday that Breest’s lawsuit “utterly destroyed him.”

“She’s not upset about what happened in Paul Haggis’ apartment that night. She’s upset that he never invited her back,” defense lawyer Priya Chaudhry said Wednesday of Breest.

“There are three ‘r’ words in this case: reject, regret, revenge. None of them are rape.”

Haggis, 69, wrote and produced the sports drama “Million Dollar Baby,” which won the Oscar for best picture in 2005. He directed, co-wrote and produced the crime drama “Crash,” winning best picture and best director in 2006.

The trial stems from a lawsuit filed by Breest in 2017. Haggis is not criminally charged.

Haggis was detained in Italy in June after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman there. That case was dismissed the following month after an Italian court ruled there weren’t grounds to continue an investigation.

With News Wire Services

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