Paul Haggis defends ‘Bond Girl’ against rape allegations

ROME – When director Paul Haggis was accused of sexual abuse by four women in 2017, he claimed it was a conspiracy by the Church of Scientology, even though there was no evidence the women belonged to the church.

Five years later, Haggis has been accused of repeatedly raping another woman while attending a festival in Italy, and his lawyer is offering a new defense, saying the Oscar winner’s accuser wanted to be a Bond girl .

An Italian lawyer speaking for Haggis told The Daily Beast and other reporters that the woman willingly sought out the filmmaker for a sexual encounter in exchange for a film role — even though he hasn’t worked in years and has no upcoming film in production .

Prosecutors have claimed the woman, who is a Russian-British dual citizen, “suffered repeated sexual assaults without consent,” including one that was so violent that she “was forced to see a doctor” before haggis her to the airport drove and left her there.

“I was raped for days,” the woman told investigating prosecutor Antonio Negro. “We were supposed to work together, but instead he raped me Sunday night through Wednesday.”

Haggis’ attorney, Michele Laforgia, attempts to present this encounter as a simple business transaction. She said Haggis met the woman in Monte Carlo this year and agreed to meet him at the Allora film festival in Ostuni, Puglia, which Haggis helped set up.

Laforgia claims the woman “arranged sex with him in exchange for a role in an upcoming Bond film,” which he described as a “product of show business.”

Haggis’ lawyer seemingly forgot the huge impact resulting from the #MeToo movement, saying to his client, who has co-written James Bond films Casino royale and quantum of consolation, I Agree.

“Haggis told the judge the sex was consensual and there was no violence, so no crime,” Laforgia said, claiming police misinterpreted the woman’s medical exam.

The Daily Beast could not confirm an alleged misreading of the medical report by police in the Italian port city of Brindisi, where officers stumbled across the woman. A spokesman for the police station said he was not aware of any change in the original reports and actually repeated the original claims, which are part of the public record.

No attorney for the prosecutor has commented on the claims made by Haggis’ defense team.

Haggis lost his bid for freedom on Wednesday after a court ruled he must remain under supervised house arrest while the investigation into the reported assault continues.

When asked why the judge would not then allow Haggis to remain free, Laforgia said, “The judge said Haggis was not a flight risk but decided to keep him under house arrest while the investigation continues.”

A memo signed by Haggis, which was submitted to the court and leaked to various press outlets, says the woman “invited herself” to visit him in Ostuni, and on several occasions over the course of the three days she stayed with him, amicable Room had sex with him. The defence memo describes the woman as upset that Haggis would not hold her hand in public and once returned drunk and initiated sex while telling him she wanted to be a Bond girl.

The film festival distanced itself from the director and canceled the events he was supposed to direct.

Among the four women who previously accused the director of sexual assault is his former publicist Haleigh Breest, who sued him in 2017. This case was held up in court for a variety of reasons including the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year he asked a judge to speed up the case, claiming he could barely pay his bills and the false claims nearly bankrupted him. He said diversity that he had to quickly clear his name to get back to work.

Haggis denies all allegations of abuse and has accused the Church of Scientology, of which he was a member for 35 years, of taking revenge on him after he left in 2009. He is among the most vocal former members, often speaking out against the Church’s idiosyncratic policies and repeated counter-claims that the Church of Scientology has a motive to destroy his reputation. Paul Haggis defends ‘Bond Girl’ against rape allegations


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