New York Daily News
A case involving a sexual assault allegation against filmmaker Paul Haggis in Italy has been dismissed, according to reports.
Haggis, 69, was arrested in June after being accused of a non-consensual, two-day sexual encounter with a 28-year-old woman, but an Italian court said late last week that there aren’t grounds for an investigation to move forward, Variety reported over the weekend, citing Italian media.
“After viewing the evidence and hearing arguments from both sides, the District Court of Lecce, an appellate court with three judges, unanimously rejected a prosecutor’s appeal to have Haggis’ house arrest reinstated,” lawyer Michele Laforgia, who represents Haggis, said Saturday.
The Oscar-winning Haggis was released from his hotel-room detainment in Italy earlier this month, a little over two weeks after his June 19 arrest.
Prosecutors accused Haggis of sexually assaulting the woman, then leaving her at a Brindisi airport despite her “precarious physical and psychological conditions.”
Haggis’ lawyer denied the allegation.
“Paul Haggis answered all questions and explained what happened,” Laforgia told reporters earlier this month. “He declared himself, as he had already done right after the detention, completely innocent, in the sense that the relations he had with this woman were totally consensual.”
Haggis was previously accused in 2017 of raping a publicist years earlier, which the filmmaker denied. A trial for that accusation is set to begin in New York City on Oct. 11.
Three additional women came forward in January 2018 with sexual misconduct claims against Haggis, including one who accused him of rape. An attorney for Haggis said at the time that the filmmaker “didn’t rape anybody.”
Haggis wrote and produced the drama “Million Dollar Baby,” which won the Oscar for best picture in 2004. The next year, the drama “Crash,” which Haggis directed, co-wrote and produced, won the Oscars for best picture and best original screenplay.
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