An Italian judge has appealed the sexual abuse case against Paul Hagis be expelled, judging that there is no reason to continue the investigation against the Oscar-winning director, according to the media.
The judge in the city of Lecce, in southern Italy, asked that the investigation against Haggis be closed on Friday evening, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Saturday. Earlier, an appeals court ruled in favor of Haggis, rejecting an attempt by prosecutors to reinstate Haggis’ house arrest while the investigation continues.
Haggis was arrested on June 19 in the southern Italian town of Ostuni, where he was attending the first Allora film festival. A 28-year-old Briton has accused the 69-year-old filmmaker of forcing her to have sex with him for two days. Haggis spent 16 days under house arrest in his hotel before being released.
In a statement published at The Hollywood Reporter On Saturday, Haggis’ Italian lawyer, Michele Laforgia, noted that the three appeals court judges “unanimously rejected the prosecutor’s appeal for the reinstatement of Haggis’ house arrest.” Laforgia said she presented “compelling and objective evidence” that the woman who accused Haggis told “multiple lies to investigators and the court, with facts and witnesses completely contradicting her story.”
The alleged victim’s legal team did not immediately comment on the judge’s decision.
Laforgia said that unless new evidence is presented in court, prosecutors will have to close the case against Haggis, which he said he expects to happen in the coming weeks.
Haggis, who won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for Accident and script nominations for Million dollar baby and Letters from Iwo Jima, also faces a separate court case in the United States. Journalist Haleigh Breest is suing Haggis, alleging he raped her in January 2013. A trial date for that case has been set for October 11 in New York. Haggis said his meeting with Breest was consensual.