Paul Haggis ‘completely innocent’ after sexual assault arrest in Italy, says lawyer

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Paul Haggis’ Lawyer Claims Oscar-Winning Director Is “Totally Innocent” After Reports He Was Arrested southern region of italy He was placed under further investigation on Sunday for allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman.

“Under Italian law, I cannot discuss the evidence,” Haggis’ attorney, Priya Choudhury, told Fox News Digital. “That said, I am confident that all charges against Mr. Haggis will be dismissed.

“He is completely innocent, and ready to cooperate fully with the authorities so that the truth comes out quickly.”

Haggis, 69, is in Italy for the Ellora film festival starting Tuesday in the tourist town of Ostuni in Puglia, Italy.

Paul Haggis attends the Amicorti Film Festival 2021 in Pavergno, Italy on June 16, 2021.
(Daniel Venturelli)

The news agency LaPresse and several additional Italian media groups gave a written statement to prosecutors in the city of Brindisi that they were investigating allegations that a “young foreign woman” – meaning non-Italian – had “non-consensual” sex. was forced to make. Relationship with a Canadian screenwriter in two days.

Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando, who are investigating, said in a statement that the woman was “forced to seek medical care” after the sexual encounters.

Italian news media reported that a few days later “after a non-consensual relationship, the woman was taken to Brindisi airport with the man” on Sunday and “released at dawn despite (her) precarious physical and psychological conditions”. given.”

Prosecutors said airport staff and police saw him in an “apparently confused state” and, after initial treatment, took him to police headquarters in Brindisi, where officers accompanied him to a local hospital to examine him.

Officials said they were not authorized to provide details about the case, including his nationality or age, or Haggis’ whereabouts.

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Haggis won the Oscar in 2006 Best Original Screenplay for “Crash”, which was inspired by his own real-life incident where he was taken outside a video store in Los Angeles.

The Canadian director, who also wrote “Million Dollar Baby” and “Flags of Our Fathers”, has been accused of rape and sexual misconduct by a total of four women, citing incidents that allegedly took place between 1996 and 2015. .

Publicist Hailey Brest filed a civil suit in December 2017 claiming that Haggis raped her in a New York City apartment on January 31, 2013. According to the AP, her suit prompted three additional women to come forward, under condition of anonymity.

Haggis was a Scientologist for 35 years and left the church in 2009. Shortly after the lawsuits, Leah Remini and her “Scientology and the Aftermath” co-host, Mike Rinder, issued a lengthy statement defending Haggis And claiming the women in question can be questionable motivation to come forward.

He wrote, “In today’s environment there are plenty of reasons to worry about defending anyone accused of sexual assault. But the fear of the consequences of speaking the truth hasn’t held us back in the past and doesn’t start now. is gonna be.” “We have supported victims of sexual abuse who reached out to us and worked with them and law enforcement to ensure justice for both the victims and the accused. We have avoided trial by the media.”

In his post, he defends Haggis’ character and suggests that the Church of Scientology is behind three additional charges that are “suddenly popping out of the woodwork.”

“We expect that the next ‘revelations’ about Paul Haggis in this campaign to destroy him as more ‘anonymous’ accusers will be based on information taken from his Scientology files, hidden behind a lawyer. Those who will never have to disclose who is paying their bills.”

Haggis has denied the original rape allegation in a counter-complaint, saying that the accuser and her attorney had sought $9 million in payments to avoid legal action, which they described as extortion.

Remini and Rinder wrote, “Paul Haggis is worthy of justice by virtue of his record as a gentleman and humanitarian when all evidence has been taken to a court of law under penalty of perjury.” “Because the claims of anonymous accusers who have not gone to law enforcement are not credible.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.