Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis is to face a civil suit claim that he committed a gender-motivated hate crime against one of his alleged rape victims.
A New York appeals court has ruled publicist Haleigh Breest, who will go to criminal trial in February after accusing Haggis of raping her in his Soho apartment in 2013, can also file a civil suit that the filmmaker violated a New York law aimed at preventing “gender-motivated violence”.
Citing the 2000 Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act, judges in New York’s First Appellate Division of the Supreme Court wrote of the Haggis case: “Malice or ill will based on gender is apparent from the alleged (rape) itself.”
While the “precedent-setting” decision is an overall victory for Breest, the judges found that three other, unnamed women accusing Haggis of sexual assault, referred to as Jane Does, could not level the hate crime charge against him, and should for now be removed from the case.
“The Jane Doe allegations herein are not necessary to satisfy the animus requirement of (the city’s gender-violence law),” the decision reads. “Accordingly, they should be stricken from the complaint as they serve no purpose at this juncture and tend to prejudice defendant.”
In a statement to the New York Post's gossip column Page Six, the Crash director's attorney Priya Chaudhry commented: “Mr. Haggis has respected the court’s process, and now that the allegations from these anonymous women have been dismissed, he looks forward to the release of the critical evidence currently being hidden by Haleigh Breest’s lawyers.
"This evidence will prove that these allegations against him were outright false from the beginning.”
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