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 through the years 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 condominium for a drink. Haggis says the encounter was consensual.

“Men and women who have been raped absolutely deserve justice, but in this case, it’s absolutely Paul who is the victim here,” Remini stated in a video name from her L.A. dwelling, Selection reported, although no proof has been introduced at trial that may 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 attack of Paul” because the 35-year member left the church, Remini stated. “And since this case, they have gone silent.”

Haggis’ protection has urged the civil go well with is payback for his public criticism of the Church of Scientology, whereas Breest’s authorized staff has dismissed that as a bogus conspiracy principle.

The church additionally rejected Remini’s testimony, saying in an announcement 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 four women she does not know, who have no connection to Scientology whatsoever, of committing perjury,” the assertion stated.

Paul Haggis and Leah Remini seem at a guide signing in 2015.

(Greg Allen / Invision / Related Press)

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 pink carpet and willingly went to his place, the place he made a move inside minutes. Then she “seemed conflicted in some way” 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 evening with him.

The publicist “never gave me any indication it was anything other than consensual,” Haggis stated, in response to Selection.

Breest in the end started taking initiative of their encounter, Haggis testified, allegedly shifting 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 disillusioned the following morning that she hadn’t left him a be aware along with her cellphone quantity on it.

Haggis testified Wednesday and Thursday and underwent cross-examination Thursday and Friday. Throughout redirect questioning from his legal professional, Priya Chaudhry, Haggis referred to as himself “a very 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 very least 20 affairs whereas married for 20 years to Deborah Rennard, who testified on his behalf Wednesday. She stated her ex had “great relationships with women,” 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 go away 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.