Paul Haggis to Remain Detained in Italy on Sexual Assault Charges
The director was detained and arrested in southern Italy on Sunday after an unnamed woman accused him of repeated sexual assault and aggravated personal injury.
Judge Vilma Gilli made the decision in a Brindisi, Italy court following a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, where Haggis said his sexual encounters with the woman were consensual. Judge Gilli ruled that Haggis will remain in custody at the hotel he has been in since Sunday.
Haggis’ attorney Michele Laforgia said in a statement to Variety that the judge “applied the precautionary measure of house arrest” to Haggis, believing that, “pending the hearing of the alleged victim, there is a risk of evidence-tampering of the only source of evidence which she deems necessary to submit to further checks and findings.”
Laforgia also reiterated his client’s claim: “The relations he had with this woman are totally consensual,” Laforgia said, adding that “contrary to what is assumed to be present in the charges [against Haggis] there is no injury and no sign of violence” in the medical report from the hospital where the alleged victim was taken on Sunday.
Haggis’ lawyer Priya Chaudhry previously told Rolling Stone in a statement, “Under Italian Law, I cannot discuss the evidence. That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis. He is totally innocent, and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly.”
Prosecutors said the alleged victim woman was dropped off at a nearby airport on Sunday morning following an alleged encounter with Haggis that lasted two days. Airport police and staff said they found the woman in “precarious physical and psychological conditions” and in a “confused state.” The woman was taken to a nearby hospital where she was examined and later told authorities of the sexual assault and filed formal charges.
In late 2017 and early 2018, several women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Haggis, including publicist Haleigh Breest, who filed a civil lawsuit against the Million Dollar Baby screenwriter. Following Breest’s lawsuit, three more women came forward with accusations against Haggis.