Paul Haggis Allowed to Invoke Scientology in Rape Protection, Choose Guidelines



A choose dominated on Friday that director Paul Haggis will likely be allowed to argue at his upcoming civil trial that the Church of Scientology is behind a rape allegation in opposition to him.

Haggis is accused of raping publicist Haleigh Breest after a premiere in New York in January 2013. She sued him in 2017, and the case is ready to go to trial subsequent month. Haggis has claimed that the encounter was consensual, and that rape cost got here in retaliation for his choice to go away the church and to turn into a vocal critic of it.

Breest’s attorneys sought to dam Haggis from pursuing that protection on the trial, saying it’s nothing greater than “speculative fantasy,” and that Breest and her different witnesses don’t have any connection to the church. However her ruling on Friday, Choose Sabrina Kraus allowed Haggis to lift the speculation.

“The jury is entitled to learn of any doable motive Plaintiff might have and about The Church’s efforts to discredit Haggis,” Kraus wrote. “Haggis ought to have the chance to current proof that can present that The Church was, in actual fact, in search of to embroil Haggis in ruinous, false allegations relating to girls previous to Breest’s allegations right here.”

The ruling signifies that the Church of Scientology will likely be at difficulty in two rape trials set to start subsequent month. In Los Angeles, actor Danny Masterson is going through three legal rape fees, which carry a possible sentence of life in jail. Masterson is a member of the church, and his accusers have filed a separate civil swimsuit claiming that the church stalked and harassed them after they reported him to the LAPD. The choose within the legal case has indicated she’s going to enable some dialogue of Scientology, although the protection is in search of to restrict it.

Within the Haggis case, his legal professionals say there’s important proof that the church was in search of to “discover dust” on him earlier than the rape allegation was made. Haggis, an Oscar winner for writing and directing “Crash,” famously left the church in 2009 over its opposition to homosexual marriage.

He subsequently known as the church a “cult,” and took part in a New Yorker article that turned the premise for the e book “Going Clear,” in addition to the documentary of the identical title. Haggis’ legal professionals argue that the church regards him in the identical means that Iran regards Salman Rushdie. The legal professionals additionally declare that church operatives set about to destroy Haggis with “ruinous, false allegations relating to girls” earlier than the Breest litigation was filed.

“Haggis isn’t any bizarre defendant in a civil case,” his legal professionals wrote. “He’s essentially the most public enemy of a infamous, nefarious, highly effective and well-funded establishment which is thought to destroy its detractors.”

Breest’s legal professionals have argued that the Scientology concept will distract the jury and put a cloud over the case. “Haggis has not produced one shred of proof to help this bogus story,” they argued.

Kraus additionally dominated on a number of different motions on Friday. She denied Breest’s request to carry up allegations that surfaced in opposition to Haggis in Italy in June. Haggis was held on home arrest for 16 days after a girl accused him of rape. An Italian choose, nonetheless, dominated that there was inadequate proof to proceed to detain him.

“The allegations in that case haven’t been sustained and have been deemed inadequate to maintain defendant below arrest,” Kraus wrote, in refusing to permit Breest to introduce that proof in her trial.

Breest will likely be allowed to name three different “Jane Doe” witnesses who’ve raised separate sexual assault allegations in opposition to Haggis. In that ruling, Kraus relied on a current New York appellate ruling within the Harvey Weinstein legal case that upheld using three such “prior dangerous acts” witnesses.

Kraus additionally granted a plaintiff’s movement to bar Haggis from mentioning his funds on the trial. Haggis has claimed that Breest’s allegations have practically bankrupted him by making it unimaginable for him to work and forcing him to spend hundreds of thousands on legal professionals.

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