Eleven civil rights organizations — including the ACLU, Her Justice and the Anti-Violence Project — have filed an amicus brief in support of Haleigh Breest, the publicist who accused Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis of rape.
Breest’s suit was filed under the New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act, known as GVMA, which allows victims to sue for “financial redress.”
Haggis sought to dismiss this part of the case, but was denied, and is appealing. A release from Her Justice said: “It is the first case under the GMVA that has been allowed to proceed past the initial stage of litigation. Now, the New York appeals court has an opportunity to affirm that rape is a gender-motivated crime of violence and to make important precedent for holding perpetrators accountable and ensuring victims gain the financial security they need.”
Priya Chaudhry, a lawyer for Haggis, commented to Page Six, “It is irresponsible that these groups rushed to judgment in a civil case where they don’t know any of the facts. Mr. Haggis did nothing wrong and there are documents [that] prove it — but Ms. Breest’s lawyers are hiding them under seal.
Her lawyers and the powerful interests supporting them can’t hide the truth forever. Mr. Haggis looks forward to sharing the whole story with the public and clearing his name when he is allowed to do so.” In March, Haggis quietly dropped a defamation lawsuit against Breest.
His legal team wants a judge to make public the sealed court records that they say would clear him of the accusations of rape. Breest’s lawyers argue there’s “overwhelming evidence that Haggis sexually assaulted” Breest.
This article originally appeared on Page Six.