“Illicit Drugs & Prostitutes”: The New Allegations That Have Reopened The Lehrmann Defamation Case

“Illicit Drugs & Prostitutes”: The New Allegations That Have Reopened The Lehrmann Defamation Case

Channel 10 has won the battle to have the Bruce Lehrmann case reopened after a 2000-page affidavit sworn by ex-Spotlight producer Taylor Auerbach was submitted to the federal court this afternoon.

A judgement on the defamation case was due to be delivered on Thursday, but is now likely to be delayed by at least a week after Network Ten brought forward new evidence that it hopes proves Brittany Higgins’  allegations made against Lehrmann in the now infamous 2021 interview were true.

This afternoon, lawyers for Network Ten convinced the court to hear fresh evidence from Auerbach, effectively reopening the case.

It was previously revealed that the former Liberal staffer was offered a year’s worth of rent in exchange for the bombshell interview with Channel 7‘s Spotlight program. In new evidence submitted to the federal court, Auerbach alleged that Lehrmann was a “source of material”, including Brittany Higgins’ private text messages and the AFP statement of facts, which contradicts Lehrmann’s previous position that he did not hand over documents from the criminal trial to the producer.

Auerbach has also claimed to have receipts for expensive meals, golf trips and massages used by Spotlight to persuade Lehrmann to take part in the interview. He claimed that Seven was paid a “daily work allowance” for “illicit drugs and prostitutes”. The extent of these additional costs amounts to an estimated $23,000.

The saga began in 2021 after The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson interviewed Brittany Higgins, who alleged she had been raped by the former Liberal staffer back in 2019. While Lehrmann was not named in the interview, his lawyers told the court that he was identifiable through the information provided on the program. It was alleged that Lehrmann lost friends and was excluded from social media groups after the interview aired.

Lehrmann was later charged with the alleged rape and stood trial in 2022, vehemently denying all allegations made against him. The trial ended without result due to juror misconduct, leaving Network Ten open to a defamation case, which was promptly launched by Lehrmann’s team.

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