Bruce Lehrmann’s texting to girlfriend about media reports of alleged rape exposed
Before being charged with sexual assault, former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann said he could face “millions in defamation” over media reports of the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins.
Lehrmann WhatsApped his then-girlfriend regarding the potential payout ahead of a segment on The Project on Feb. 15, 2021, after speaking with attorney Warwick Korn.
“If I’m named tonight[Korn]says I’m ready for millions of dollars in libel,” he wrote.
Check out the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
In the messages read out in federal court on Thursday, he expressed confidence that no criminal charges would be brought against him.
“Crime is completely excluded,” he said.
After a police investigation, Lehrmann was charged in August 2021 with having sex without consent.
Higgins accused Lehrmann of raping her in 2019 in the office of former Minister Linda Reynolds’ Houses of Parliament, for whom they both worked.
After his trial, the jury was released in October last year for jury misconduct.
Prosecutors later announced they would not be pursuing the charges in December, citing concerns about Higgins’ mental health.
In February, Lehrmann launched a defamation lawsuit against Network Ten and News Corp over their February 2021 coverage of his former colleague’s rape allegations.
Former Ten journalist Lisa Wilkinson and News political editor Samantha Maiden are also named in the lawsuits.
The parties were in court on Thursday to hear an extension motion from Lehrmann to pursue the defamation lawsuits, which normally must be filed within a year of the allegedly defamatory publications.
Lehrmann claims he was unable to start the lawsuits earlier because of the criminal process, the legal advice he received from Korn, and his own mental health.
Wilkinson’s attorney Sue Chrysanthou SC said there were contradictions between the messages sent by Lehrmann about Korn’s advice and what he told his attorney Paul Svilans, his instructing counsel in the defamation case.
Text Messages Revealed
Testifying from the witness stand, Lehrmann said he was suspended from his job at British American Tobacco following a news article about the rape allegations in February 2021 and immediately reached out to Korn for advice on looming criminal matters.
He said the attorney told him to withhold the defamation lawsuit before the criminal cases were resolved and acknowledged the issue had been discussed.
“Certainly I was outraged by what I saw,” he told Judge Michael Lee.
Although he told his girlfriend he was ready for “millions” in defamation, he said he didn’t get that advice from Korn, but was simply trying to calm his upset partner.
“I placated (her) because she was desperate,” he said under cross-examination by Ten’s attorney, Dr. Matthew Collins KC.
“In fact, I kind of put on a brave face.”
Attorneys for Ten and News argue that when Lehrmann spoke with Korn, he believed that no charges would be brought against him and that it was unreasonable for him to wait so long to file the defamation claims.
Complaints filed for Lehrmann in those lawsuits allege that his personal reputation was damaged by the reports.
Lehrmann has consistently denied the allegations, telling the court the “intense media scrutiny” required him to check himself in at North Shore Hospital and then leave his Sydney home and move in with his mother in Toowoomba.
In their defense, Ten, News and Wilkinson say they will prove the truth of the sexual assault allegations.
The federal court hearing continues.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT at 1800.737.732 or visit us 1800RESPECT.org.au.In an emergency, call 000.
If you need help during a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For more information about depression, call beyondblue on 1300224636 or speak to your GP, local healthcare professional or someone you trust.
https://7news.com.au/news/court-justice/bruce-lehrmanns-texts-to-girlfriend-over-media-reports-on-alleged-rape-revealed–c-10058684 Bruce Lehrmann’s texting to girlfriend about media reports of alleged rape exposed