Italian judge rules that Paul Haggis remains under house arrest in sexual assault case

Italian judge rules that Paul Haggis remains under house arrest in sexual assault case

An Italian judge has ruled that Paul Haggis must remain under house arrest in the case in which the “Crash” director is accused by an unidentified woman of repeated assault and aggravated personal injury.

Judge Vilma Gilli made her decision just hours after a preliminary hearing Wednesday in which Haggis answered questions at the courthouse in the southern port city of Brindisi, on the “heel” of Italy’s boot. During the deliberation, Haggis said his sexual relations with the woman had been consensual. The judge ruled that Haggis must remain at the hotel in nearby Ostuni, where he has been detained since Sunday.

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In a statement to VarietyHaggis’ Italian lawyer Michele Laforgia said: the judge “applied the precaution of house arrest” to Haggis, believing that, “pending the questioning of the alleged victim, there is a risk of manipulation of evidence from the only source of evidence it deems necessary to proceed with further investigation.” audits and findings.” The source of evidence is the alleged victim himself.

Laforgia repeated that Haggis de allegations and trusts “that the full truth of the facts will be quickly restored and his liberty restored.”

The next step is likely to be a special evidence hearing, likely next week, where a cross-examination is expected between Haggis and the alleged victim, who is believed to still be in Italy, and their respective lawyers. The judge then decides whether the case will go to trial.

on Wednesday morning, Haggis, 69, and his lawyer entered the courthouse where Haggis was questioned for several hours during a preliminary hearing in which the Canadian filmmaker denied the allegations of sexual assault and said there was consensual consent.

Speak with Variety, Laforgia said that “Haggis gave a lengthy written statement and then answered all questions and reconstructed from day to day – and in some cases from hour to hour – what happened during the three days he was with this woman in Ostuni,” he said. the lawyer.

Since Haggis does not speak Italian, he submitted written statements in English to the court during the hearing which were subsequently translated during the hearing.

“The relationships he had with this woman are completely consensual,” said Laforgia. He went on to note that “contrary to what is believed to be present in the charges” [against Haggis] there is no injury and no sign of violence” in the medical report from the Brindisi hospital where the alleged victim was taken on Sunday.

The lawyer also pointed out that “Mr. Haggis has stated that he will remain in Italy until his total innocence is definitively proven.”

According to multiple sources, the alleged victim who reported the crime is a British woman who is considerably younger than the 69-year-old filmmaker. She is believed to be in her thirties or early forties. She and Haggis briefly crossed paths in late April at the Monte-Carlo Comedy Film Festival, where Haggis presided over the jury.

Haggis and the alleged victim then communicated via Instagram and text messages, and the alleged victim arrived in Ostuni on Sunday, June 12 via a low-cost airline, where Haggis would give several masterclasses at the burgeoning Allora Fest film festival of which he was one of the organizers.

Over the next few days, when the woman and Haggis slept in the same hotel room, Haggis allegedly forced the young woman, whom he had known some time ago, to submit to sexual relations, according to a written statement from prosecutor Antonio Negro. on Sunday (June 19), announcing that Haggis had been arrested.

Haggis, who wrote and co-wrote “Million Dollar Baby” and directed “Crash,” for which he both won Oscars, was sued in 2018 by publicist Haleigh Breest, who alleged he violently raped her after a 2013 premiere. The lawsuit brought three additional women to come forward with their own allegations of sexual misconduct against Haggis, who has vehemently denied the allegations. The process is still pending due to COVID delays.

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