Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis claims he’s ‘financially decimated’ after being ordered on Monday to pay an additional $2.5 million in damages in a rape lawsuit.
It brings the total to $10 million for the pain and suffering a woman went through who said he sexually assaulted her nearly a decade ago.
Jurors decided on the additional, punitive damages after hearing testimony about Haggis’ finances.
Last week, the same jury had already found that Haggis raped publicist Haleigh Breest and forced her to perform oral sex in his New York apartment on January 31, 2013. He says they had a consensual encounter.
Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis has been ordered to pay an additional $2.5 million in damages in a rape lawsuit, bringing the total to $10 million dollars
Last week, the same jury had already found that Haggis raped publicist Haleigh Breest and forced her to perform oral sex in his New York apartment in January 2013
Once in his apartment, Haggis made multiple advances before making her perform oral sex and then raping her, she said.
Breast brought a civil lawsuit. Haggis was not criminally charged in the matter.
I can’t live with lies like this. I will die clearing my name,’ Haggis said after Thursday’s decision, adding that he would appeal.
Haggis’ lawyer has since told jurors how he is unable to afford the additional punitive damages that the jury decided on Monday – despite making around $25 million during his 40-year show business career.
Priya Chaudhry, Haggis’ lawyer, told the jury that her client has been ‘financially decimated’ since Breest brought her case and ‘does not have any money.’
I can’t live with lies like this. I will die clearing my name,’ Haggis said, adding he would appeal
The Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis has claimed he is ‘financially decimated’ following the lawsuit
‘He’s not going to be able to pay the judgment you’ve already created and there’s no way he can pay anything further.’
Jurors worked out the total after getting a crash-course in movie financing as Haggis was questioned about his earnings. Known for being one of the creators of the Walker Texas Ranger television series, Haggis received an Oscar for best picture and best original screenplay in 2006 for Crash.
He was additionally the screenwriter for Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, as well as James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.
While explaining the complexities of screenwriting compensation, he estimated that throughout his four decades in TV and movies he has made as much as $25 million dollars before taxes, agents’ and other representatives’ fees and asset splits with his two ex-wives, including alimony and properties
The 69-year-old filmmaker said during the trial that he had suffered various financial losses over the years on property, bad investments, divorces and paying the Church of Scientology
Haggis explained how he had paid huge sums of about $2 million across a span of 30 years to the Church of Scientology, gave up half of his wealth in two divorces and made a series of bad financial decisions noting that he now only has a couple hundred thousand’ remaining.
The 69-year-old filmmaker said during the trial that he had suffered various financial losses over the years – including the destruction of a home in the 1994 Northridge earthquake in which he lost $4 million for which he did not have insurance coverage – but that Breest’s lawsuit had wiped him out.
Haggis revealed that he had made bad property investments losing money on homes in Florida with a further $2 million during the 2008 stock market crash.
He said his legal bills topped $2.67 million dollars, while his career abruptly dried up. He claimed to still owe well over $500,000 in legal fees.
Breest, 36, said she suffered both professional and psychological harm from what happened after she accepted an invitation for a drink at his apartment following a movie premiere
Haggis said he’d ‘gutted’ his retirement savings, he borrowed $1 million from his ex-wife to help pay legal fees.
Upon trying to sell his apartment in 2019 to generate cash he took it off the market after receiving offers that were less than the $2.9 million he purchased it for in 2006.
Except for some relatively small gigs rewriting scripts, Haggis said: ‘I will never work as a writer until I clear my name.
I’ve spent all the money I have at my disposal. I’ve gutted my pension plan, I’ve lived on loans, in order to pay for this case in a very naive belief in justice,’ he said outside court.
Haggis said that he had been forced to economize and cut back on cable and even streaming subscriptions noting how he had resorted to using his daughter’s Netflix account.
Breest filed her civil suit against Haggis in 2017 at the height of the #MeToo movement, claiming the renowned director had raped her when she was 26.
Pictured: Higgis with members of his family and legal team walking out of court on Thursday
Haggis also told how he’d ‘gutted’ his retirement savings and even borrowed $1 million from his ex-wife to help pay legal fees.
Breest’s lawyers questioned Mr Haggis’s claims of being broke.
Haggis received an Oscar for best picture and best original screenplay in 2006 for Crash
‘Nothing Paul Haggis says can be trusted,’ lawyer Ilann Maazel said. ‘He still doesn’t recognize that he did anything wrong,’ he added.
‘Like other individuals with assets, he is skilled at hiding them,’ lawyer Zoe Salzman said. ‘The evidence will show yet again that the defendant is not being truthful with you.’
Jurors left court without commenting.
During the trial, the filmmaker’s lawyers suggested that Breest’s suit was guided by the Church of Scientology, which Haggis left and has since criticized.
Breest, 36, said she suffered both professional and psychological harm from what happened after she accepted an invitation for a drink at his apartment following a movie premiere.
She declined to comment on Monday.
In a statement after the initial verdict on Thursday, she said she appreciated ‘the opportunity to seek justice and accountability in court – and that the jury chose to follow the facts – and believed me’.