- Actress Leah Remini testified in defense of Paul Haggis during his civil rape trial on Monday.
- Remini suggested the lawsuit was a Scientology plot against Haggis for leaving the religion.
- She said she did not believe Haggis raped publicist Haleigh Breest in her Manhattan apartment.
Actress Leah Remini testified Monday in the civil rape trial of fellow ex-Scientologist and filmmaker Paul Haggis, suggesting the lawsuit against him is the church’s way of punishing him for becoming an outspoken critic of religion after left its ranks.
Remini said the Church of Scientology had threatened her with lawsuits, although no lawsuits were ever filed, and that retaliatory lawsuits against defectors were meant to “wear down” an enemy in silence.
“You would have to hire lawyers and that would cost a lot of money and the point of that is to ruin you financially so the last thing you want to do is fight with Scientology.”
“The purpose of Scientology lawsuits is just to destroy your life,” Remini said.
Testifying via live stream at New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, Remini said that in the case of Haleigh Breest’s lawsuit against Haggis, she believes “Paul is the victim here.”
Haggis and Remini are perhaps two of the biggest defectors from Scientology, a religion founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its parishioners.
Remini said she thinks testifying is “the right thing to do” because she thinks Haggis is a “decent man, father and friend” and because she is “an advocate for people who have been victims of the policies of Scientology”.
Perhaps best known for her role on the long-running sitcom ‘The King of Queens,’ Remini grew up religiously and detailed how the church followed her when she left in 2013. Remini has also wrote a book about leaving religion, and hosted a documentary series on Scientology.
Scientologists harassed her, harassed her and used confessions she made in Scientology counseling sessions to stir up controversy about her, she said.
She became emotional talking about how her own family members made attack videos about her.
“They do this because they know it will happen to you… My dad and I had a rocky relationship, I don’t think he knew exactly what he was doing when he made those videos for Scientology. They collect everything they can hurt you and it hurts,” Remini said.
“I am still shocked by this behavior of a church to this day,” she added.
Remini, asked about the four women besides Breest who testified to their similar allegations of sexual misconduct against Haggis during the trial, said two of the women had “Scientology names,” but admitted on cross-examination. that she had no knowledge linking them to Scientology. .
Breest alleged that Haggis, the screenwriter and director of “Crash,” raped her in his Manhattan apartment in January 2013. His lawsuit charges Haggis with assault, battery, rape, criminal sexual act, of aggravated sexual abuse and violation of New York City’s gender-based violence law. She asks the jury to award her unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
The defense rested after Remini’s testimony on Monday, and the judge told the jury she expects the case to be completed by the end of the week.
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