AceShowbiz - Paul Haggis has been released from house arrest. After an unnamed British woman accused him of sexual assault, the "Crash" filmmaker has been under police detention in a hotel in southern Italy since 19 June. Now, a judge has now ordered his release while prosecutors decide whether to pursue their investigation into the allegations.
The 69-year-old director was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and aggravated personal injury after the alleged victim claimed she had forced him into having sex over a two-day period.
Italian news outlets previously published a statement from prosecutors in the city of Brindisi. At the time, they were reportedly investigating allegations involving a "young foreign woman" amid claims she was forced to have "non-consensual" sexual relations over two days.
Haggis, however, insisted he is "totally innocent" and his legal team did not expect the case to move forward. His lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, previously said in a statement, "Under Italian Law, I cannot discuss the evidence. That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis. He is totally innocent and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly."
The "Million Dollar Baby" writer was in town for the Allora Fest film event which ran in Ostuni from June 21 to June 26. However, organizers removed him from the schedule as a result of the allegations.
They said in a statement, "(We) immediately proceeded to remove any participation of the director from the event ... At the same time, they express full solidarity with the woman involved."
"The themes chosen for the festival are, among others, those of equality, gender equality, and solidarity. As professionals and women they are dismayed and hope that the festival will help foster more information and awareness on such a topical and increasingly pressing issue," the statement continued.