Paul Haggis attorneys uses accuser’s texts to raise doubts about alleged assault

by NewsWire
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"Trying to forget last night," Haleigh Breest texted a friend the morning after Paul Haggis allegedly raped the former publicist.

"He definitely f***ed me. He tore me."
"He was so rough and aggressive," she added, declaring, "Never again."
Breest has been testifying this week in New York City as part of a sexual assault civil lawsuit against Haggis, the Oscar-winning 'Crash' filmmaker and the writer of hits such as 'Casino Royale' and 'Million Dollar Baby'.
Her text messages and e-mails were displayed to jurors and showed Breest's attempts to make sense of what had allegedly happened in Haggis's Soho apartment on January 23, 2013.
Haggis has acknowledged the pair had sex, but claims it was consensual.
Breest told her friend that Haggis assaulted her, but that he was also a "charming person" and "so smart!!!" She would later agree with her friend's assessment that the incident constituted "borderline rape."
Still, Breest and Haggis occasionally exchanged e-mails in the weeks following the alleged rape, though there was never any explicit mention of what transpired that night in the filmmaker's apartment.
And Breest continued to see Haggis at events at the Cinema Society, where she was a freelance publicist. She consulted her friend, Lyuda, via text about her mixed feelings towards the filmmaker and toyed with getting together with him again.
"Is this like really weird or what… my mood today is that I want to get together again with Paul and be the one in control," Breest said in a text message dated February 3, 2013. "Is that like f-ed up? My strange thinking to not being the powerless one!" Lyuda responded, "It's not f-ed up that you feel that way. But it's not a good idea."
"Stay away from him!!!!"
The exchange between Breest and Lyuda was the focus of defence attorney Priya Chaudhry's lengthy cross-examination of Breest, which seemed to be part of an effort to raise doubts about whether the pair's encounter was as traumatic as Breest claims. And there were moments in their conversation in which Breest struggled to condemn her alleged assailant.
When Lyuda said she wasn't interested in seeing any of Haggis' films, Breest wrote, "They are actually kind of amazing and totally non-aggressive. Ugh I don't know why I'm defending him to you!! You are supportive!! He was just soo aggressive that night and he's sooo low key when you meet him… like he was a totally different person."
At this time, Breest had only told one of her Cinema Society co-workers about her alleged rape. In a text message thread between the two of them, Breest laughed at the notion of Haggis potentially attending the same event as her. Later that night, when the co-worker asked if she got home safe, Breest quipped "no director in my bed bahaa."
Chaudhry also read aloud the lyrics to "Stupid Girl," a song by the band Garbage, which according to text messages, Breest "wanted to play over and over again after leaving Mr. Haggis' apartment."
The defence attorney specifically emphasized the chorus, which reads, "You pretend you're high/ Pretend you're bored/ Pretend you're anything/ Just to be adored."
Breest, who made a point of avoiding eye contact with Chaudhry, asked the defence attorney to not refer to her alleged rape as a "sexual experience."
"This is not a sexual experience," Breest said.
"This is a sexual assault."20221026-141606

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