Paul Haggis has been found liable on three counts of rape and sexual abuse.
The 'Crash' filmmaker has been ordered to pay $7.5 million in compensatory damages, as well as additional punitive damages - of which the amount will be determined on Monday (14.11.22) - after a jury came to a unanimous verdict on Thursday (10.11.22) after almost six hours of deliberations.
Haggis had been accused of rape in a civil case filed by Haleigh Breest in 2017 in relation to an incident in 2013, with the movie publicist claiming the director made unwanted advances and forced her to perform oral sex on him before he raped her after he invited her to his apartment for a drink when she accepted a lift home from a film screening afterparty.
The 69-year-old director - who insisted his accuser had initiated the kissing and oral sex between them but denied forcing himself on her - is "disappointed" by the verdict and has vowed to "clear [his] name".
Speaking outside the courthouse in Manhattan, he said: "I’m obviously very disappointed in the results. And I’m going to continue to, with my team, fight to clear my name. We’re going to keep our options as to what we’re going to do."
Haleigh thanked the jury for believing her account of what had happened.
She said in a statement: "I am grateful that I had the opportunity to seek justice and accountability in court — and that the jury chose to follow the facts — and believed me.
"The greatest source of comfort through this five-year legal journey has been the support I felt from the women who bravely shared their own stories and let me know I wasn’t alone.”
During the civil trial, four anonymous women shared their own accounts of allegedly being sexually assaulted by the screenwriter, and he later admitted on the witness stand he was "scared" and "humiliated" as a result of what he branded their "terrible false allegations".
He said: “I’m scared because I don’t know why women or anyone would lie about things like this, make up or twist the truth. I don’t know.
"To see my daughters sitting in the courtroom right now, my son and my family, I’m humiliated by these false allegations.”