Thursday, December 01, 2022

Director Haggis appears in Italian court amid investigation into attack

Brindisi, Italy ( Associated Press) – Film director Paul Haggis appeared in a court in southern Italy on Wednesday amid a police investigation into allegations that he had sex with her without her consent over the course of two days.

Haggis, 69, did not comment as he arrived with Italian lawyer Michele Laforgia in the courtyard of Brindisi, a port city in Puglia, the region that forms the “heel” of southeastern Italy. There was no indication that his family members who were in Italy at the time joined him.

Prosecutors announced Sunday that police have detained the Canadian-born director, screenwriter and producer for an investigation into alleged serious sexual violence and serious personal injuries.

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State TV and other Italian media said the alleged victim is a 30-year-old English woman who knew Haggis before coming to the tourist town of Ostuni to attend an arts festival.

Haggis co-wrote, directed and produced “Crash”, which won the 2006 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. He also wrote the screenplay for another Oscar-winning “Million Dollar Baby”.

He has had legal problems in recent years stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct by four women in the United States.

In Italy, a judge, after hearing arguments from both prosecutors and defense lawyers, is expected to rule on Wednesday whether Haggis should be released from custody pending a possible additional investigation.

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The judge may also decide to place him in prison or order him to be placed under house arrest.

Haggis’ US-based attorney, Priya Choudhury, told The Associated Press on Sunday that although she could not discuss the evidence under Italian law, “I believe that all charges against Mr. Haggis will be dismissed. Innocent in all respects, and ready to cooperate fully with the authorities so that the truth comes out quickly.

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