Brindisi, Italy — Film director Paul Haggis appeared in court in southern Italy on Wednesday as police investigated a woman who accused him of having sex with her without her consent for two days.
Haggis, 69, made no comment when he arrived at the courthouse in the Puglia port town of Brindisi in the “heel” of southeastern Italy with Italian lawyer Michele Laforgia. There is no indication that his family in Italy at the time joined him.
Police have detained the Canadian-born director, screenwriter and producer on suspicion of aggravated sexual violence and grievous bodily harm, prosecutors announced on Sunday.
Italian state TV and other Italian media said the alleged victim was a 30-year-old British woman who met Haggis before he arrived in the tourist town of Ostuni for the festival.
Haggis co-wrote, directed and produced “Crash,” which won the 2006 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. He also wrote the screenplay for another Oscar winner, “Million Dollar Baby.”
He has faced legal trouble in recent years over sexual misconduct allegations by four women in the United States.
In Italy, a judge is expected to rule on Wednesday whether Haggis should be released pending a possible further investigation after hearing arguments from prosecutors and defense lawyers.
The judge can also decide to order him to be imprisoned or under house arrest.
Haggis’ U.S. attorney Priya Chowdhury told The Associated Press on Sunday that although she could not discuss the evidence under Italian law, “I believe all charges against Mr. Haggis will be dismissed. He is completely innocent. , is willing to cooperate fully with the authorities to reveal the truth as soon as possible.”
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