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'I kept saying no': Paul Haggis' accuser shares graphic texts she sent to friend day after alleged rape

Haleigh Breest called the sex 'rough and aggressive,' wrote 'never ever again' and claimed, 'he tore me.'
UPDATED OCT 25, 2022
Haleigh Breest called the sex “rough and aggressive,” (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York)
Haleigh Breest called the sex “rough and aggressive,” (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York)

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: The accuser of Paul Haggis showed a screenshot of texts to the jury she sent to her friend following the day the alleged sexual assault happened, on October 24, Monday in the New York County Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Haleigh Breest called the sex “rough and aggressive,” wrote “never ever again” and claimed, “he tore me,” in her texts. She described “Trying to forget last night,” after she spent the night with Heggis in his apartment following a movie screening ceremony, reported Deadline.


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Breest responded to the friend in a series of text messages that were displayed to jurors on the fourth day of Haggis' sexual assault civil trial in Manhattan on Monday, October 24. “And I keep saying no,” Breest wrote to her friend, and then added, “But I guess that’s just an invitation or a challenge.”

Breest also wrote, “But he’s like the most charming person to have a conversation with and so smart!!!” She texted, “I don’t think he’s a terrible person and if you got to know him you’d like him but what he did was so wrong!” Breest, a 26-year-old publicist for movie events, worked for a Haggis friend's business in New York City.

After the party, where she had been working, she went to Haggis' apartment. She said that once they reached there, Haggis forced her to have unprotected oral and vaginal intercourse and inserted his fingers inside of her. She said that after passing out on a guest bed, she got up in the morning and went home before returning to work.

Breest said that although she can't recall what she said when she called her friend twice that day, she described the incidents as violent assaults. In the texts displayed to the jury, her acquaintance was the first to utter the word "rape."

"This is borderline rape, in my opinion," the friend wrote. “It sort of is Live and learn!” Breest texted back. Breest was interrogated by Haggis' attorney Priya Chaudhry for three hours regarding the alleged rape as well as the tone and substance of messages and emails she exchanged with a select group of individuals, including Haggis, whom she met 11 days later at another movie event she was working.

Breest emailed Haggis afterward, writing, “It was so crowded last night! Did you have fun?” and inquiring, “What time zone are you on? :)”
“You end that email with a smiley face, correct?” Chaudhry asked.
“Correct,” Breest answered.
Chaudhry also asked, “And you sought out an interaction with someone who you claim sexually assaulted you?” 

Breest tried to expand more often than just saying "yes" or "no," but the judge, Sabrina Kraus, would sometimes cut off her lengthy explanations. Breest's attorney Zoe Salzman said in a statement that the defence went "so far as to demand Ms. Breest stand up and reenact the rape" after Breest became angry during Chaudhry's cross-examination on Friday, October 21, nearly five hours into the hearing. 

Breest attempted to demonstrate to Chaudhry how she managed to get away from Haggis on October 21, Friday as she was positioned close to the witness box. On October 24, Monday, the court ordered that any testimony that could not be verbally expressed for the trial's written record be discontinued. “Even the most inept words are better than a motion that couldn’t be observed for the record,” she said.