‘Crash’ director Paul Haggis must pay $10M to rape accuser Haleigh Breest

“Crash” director Paul Haggis complained he was broke Monday — before a jury decided he has to pay another $2.5 million to his rape accuser.

The verdict, which brings the total he must fork over to Haleigh Breest to $10 million, came after Haggis testified he could not afford to pay accuser Breest the $7.5 million that jurors awarded her Thursday for the pain and suffering she went through when he allegedly raped her in his Soho apartment on Jan. 31, 2013.

Afterwards, a defiant Haggis said he would appeal the decision, adding: I can’t live with lies like this. I will die clearing my name.”

Haggis’ lawyer had told jurors her client can’t afford Thursday’s verdict and he won’t be able to afford the additional punitive damages that the jury decided Monday, despite the fact that he made as much as $25 million over his 40 years in show business.

Haggis’ lawyer Priya Chaudhry told the jury that her client has been “financially decimated” since Breest brought her case and that he “does not have any money.”

“He’s not going to be able to pay the judgment you’ve already created,” Chaudhry said. “And there’s no way he can pay anything further.”

Paul Haggis claims he’s broke and can’t afford to pay a jury award to rape accuser Haleigh Breest.

Paul Haggis in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Haggis said he’d made $22 to $25 million in show business but only has a couple of hundred thousand dollars left to his name.

Haggis, 69, testified that during his career writing, producing and directing TV shows and movies — including his work on blockbusters including the James Bond films starring Daniel Craig and one of the “Terminator” movies — since the 1980s he’s made between $22 million and $25 million.

But between paying millions in legal fees to fight the lawsuit, paying huge sums to the Church of Scientology, giving up half of his wealth in two divorces and making a series of bad financial decisions, Haggis probably only has “a couple hundred thousand” left to his name, he said.

The “Million Dollar Baby” screenwriter said much of his TV and film earnings went to his two ex-wives, who both received half of his earnings from the time they were married — plus alimony and properties.

The former Scientologist also said he paid roughly $2 million to the church during his over 30 years as a member.

Haggis said he made bad property investments on houses in Florida that he lost money on and then another $2 million went down the drain in the 2008 stock market crash. He also lost a $4 million California house to an earthquake that he didn’t have earthquake insurance coverage for.

Haleigh Breest walking into the courtroom.

Haleigh Breest was awarded $7.5 million in damages and now a jury is determining how much to award her in punitive damages.

Haleigh Breest in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Breest accused Haggis of raping her in his Soho apartment on Jan. 31, 2013.

Since Breest brought her lawsuit, Haggis said, he’s paid $2.67 million in legal fees to four separate law firms and he still owes well over $500,000 in legal fees — all while struggling to get a job in Hollywood under the dark cloud of the rape accusations.

The filmmaker said he had to “economize” since the suit to afford the legal bills, even cutting back on small things like canceling his cable and streaming subscriptions and instead using his daughter’s Netflix account.

Haggis said he’d “gutted” his retirement savings, he borrowed $1 million from his ex-wife to help pay legal fees and he has two liens out on his Mercer Street apartment — where Breest says she was raped — which he shares in a trust with his four children.

Haggis claimed he’d tried to sell the apartment in 2019, but took it off the market because he would only get offers that were less than the $2.9 million he paid for it in 2006.

And even if he sold it, he wouldn’t have any money left over after he paid his debts — not including the jury awards to Breest, he testified.

When asked what his assets are today, Haggis said, “a couple of hundred thousand. Maybe. Maybe not.”

Haggis also testified that he wouldn’t expect to make a substantial Hollywood salary again until “I clear my name.”

Breest’s lawyer Zoe Salzman told jurors early Monday that “the evidence will show yet again that the defendant is not being truthful with you.”

“Like other individuals with assets, he is skilled at hiding them,” Salzman said.

Breest’s other lawyer Ilann Maazel asked the jury to award Breest an amount that will deter and punish Haggis from allegedly victimizing another woman.

“He still doesn’t recognize that he did anything wrong,” Maazel said.

After the verdict Salzman declared “justice was done,” while Maazel called the decision “the right thing.”

Haggis took the witness stand for the second time after having already testified for three days during the main phase of the trial to determine whether he was liable for rape.

He has maintained that the sexual encounter with Breest was consensual. Chaudhry said Thursday that she did not think her client got a fair trial.

Haggis’ side claimed that Scientology was behind Breest and four other women’s sexual assault and rape allegations against him.

Scientology has maintained it had no involvement in the case and Haggis’ side has admitted there is no evidence linking Breest to Scientology.


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