An Italian judge has ruled that Paul Haggis will remain under house arrest in a case in which he sees the director of “Crash” accused by an unknown woman of repeated sexual assault and aggravated bodily harm.
Judge Vilma Gilli made her decision hours after a preliminary hearing Wednesday in which Haggis answered questions in court in the southern port of Brindisi about the “heel” of the Italian boot. During the discussion, Haggis said that his sexual relations with the woman were consensual. The judge ruled that Haggis should stay at the hotel in nearby Ostuni, where he has been in custody since Sunday.
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In a statement to Varietysaid Haggis’s Italian lawyer, Michele Laforgia The judge “applied the precautionary measure of house arrest” in Haggis, believing that, “pending the hearing of the alleged victim, there is a risk of falsification of evidence of the only source of evidence that he deems necessary to undergo further examination and findings. » The source of evidence is the alleged victim herself.
Laforgia reiterated that Haggis denies it accusations and believes “that the full truth of the facts will be restored quickly and his freedom will return”.
The next step is likely to be a special preliminary hearing of evidence, most likely next week, which is expected to include a cross between Haggis and the alleged victim, who is still believed to be in Italy, and their respective lawyers. The judge will then decide whether the case will be heard.
Wednesday morning, Haggis, 69, and his lawyer went to court where Haggis underwent several hours of interrogation at a preliminary hearing in which the Canadian director denied the allegations of sexual assault and said there was mutual consent.
Speaking to Variety, Laforgia said that “Haggis made a long, written statement and then answered all the questions by reconstructing day by day – and in some cases hour by hour – what happened during the three days he was with this woman in Ostuni. “, Said the lawyer.
Because Haggis does not speak Italian, he submitted written statements in English to the court throughout the hearing, which were subsequently translated during the hearing.
“His relationship with this woman is completely consensual,” said Laforgia. He then noted that “contrary to what is alleged to exist in the categories [against Haggis] there are no injuries and no signs of violence “in the medical report issued by the hospital of Brindisi where the alleged victim was transported on Sunday.
The lawyer also stressed that “Sir. Haggis has stated his intention to remain in Italy until his complete innocence is finally proven.”
According to many sources, the alleged victim who made the accusations is a British woman who is much younger than the 69-year-old director. She is believed to be in her 30s or early 40s. She and Haggis met briefly in late April at the Monte Carlo Comedy Festival, where Haggis chaired the jury.
Haggis and the alleged victim then communicated via Instagram and text messages, and the alleged victim arrived via low-cost airline on Sunday, June 12, in Ostuni. where Haggis was scheduled to hold several masterclasses at the budding Allora Fest film festival of which he was one of the organizers.
During the following days, during which the woman and Haggis slept in the same hotel room, Haggis allegedly “forced the young woman, who was known to him some time ago, to have sex”, according to a written statement issued by prosecutor Antonio Negro. on Sunday (June 19), which announced that Haggis had been taken into custody.
Haggis, who co-wrote “Million Dollar Baby” and co-wrote and directed the Oscar-winning “Crash,” was sued in 2018 by journalist Haleigh Breest, who claimed he raped her violently after a 2013 premiere. The lawsuit prompted three additional women to make their own allegations of sexual harassment against Haggis, who categorically denied the allegations. The trial is still pending due to delays for COVID.
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