Leah Remini, Susan Sarandon Among Potential Witnesses in Paul Haggis Trial, as Jurors Questioned About #MeToo Movement, Scientology
Rebecca Rubin Film and Media Reporter A jury has been selected in the Paul Haggis rape trial, which is set to begin with opening remarks on Wednesday morning in New York City. Haggis, the Oscar-winning director of “Crash” and screenwriter of “Million Dollar Baby,” has been accused of raping a publicist named Haleigh Breest after a movie premiere nearly a decade ago. Breest’s lawsuit was filed in 2017 in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which led to an influx of sexual assault allegations against prominent men. Haggis has claimed the encounter, which took place in 2013, was consensual and maintains the rape charge came in retaliation for his decision to leave and then criticize the Church of Scientology. Prior to the trial, Breest’s attorneys sought to block Haggis from arguing that Scientology was orchestrating the allegations in retaliation, saying that Breest and other witnesses have no connection to the church. They also argued that pursuing that line of defense will distract the jury from the particulars of Breest’s allegations. But in September, Judge Sabrina Kraus ruled that Haggis will be able to use that argument.