Paul Haggis arrested in Italy over sexual assault allegations

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Paul Haggis' attorney has insisted the director is 'totally innocent' after he was arrested in Italy credit:Bang Showbiz
Paul Haggis' attorney has insisted the director is 'totally innocent' after he was arrested in Italy credit:Bang Showbiz

Paul Haggis has been arrested in Italy on suspicion of sexual assault and aggravated personal injury.

The Oscar-winning 'Crash' moviemaker, 69, was detained by authorities in the southern town of Ostuni after an unidentified woman pressed charges against him - however, the director's attorney has insisted Haggis is "totally innocent".

In a statement published by Variety, Haggis' personal attorney Priya Chaudhry said: "Under Italian Law, I cannot discuss the evidence. That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis. He is totally innocent and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly."

The moviemaker was in town for the Allora Fest film event which is due to run in Ostuni from June 21 to June 26 and organisers have now removed him from the schedule.

According to Variety, they said in a statement: "(We) immediately proceeded to remove any participation of the director from the event ... At the same time, they express full solidarity with the woman involved ... "

They added: “The themes chosen for the festival are, among others, those of equality, gender equality, and solidarity. As professionals and women they are dismayed and hope that the festival will help foster more information and awareness on such a topical and increasingly pressing issue."

Italian news outlets have published a statement from prosecutors in the city of Brindisi who stated they are investigating allegations involving a “young foreign woman” amid claims she was forced to have "non-consensual" sexual relations over two days.

Haggis won two Oscars for his work on 2004 drama 'Crash' - scooping Best Picture and Best Screenplay. He also wrote Clint Eastwood-directed sports drama 'Million Dollar Baby' as well as James Bond movies 'Casino Royale' and 'Quantum of Solace'.

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