Channel Ten fires back as Bruce Lehrmann considers suing Lisa Wilkinson and the TV station for defamation over Brittany Higgins interview
- Bruce Lehrmann claims Channel 10 didn’t approach him for comment in 2021
- Brittany Higgins made her rape claims against him in interview on The Project
- Ms Higgins alleged Mr Lehrmann raped her in Parliament House in March 2019
- Lehrmann is considering suing Lisa Wilkinson and Network 10 for defamation
- However, the network insists Mr Lehrmann was contacted and did not respond
- Case against Mr Lehrmann was abandoned by prosecutors last week
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Channel 10 has hit back at Bruce Lehrmann, insisting its news team approached him for comment before airing Lisa Wilkinson’s explosive interview with Brittany Higgins.
Daily Mail Australia revealed on Monday that Mr Lehrmann, 27, was considering suing the network and Ms Wilkinson for defamation over the February 2021 interview on The Project, when Ms Higgins first alleged she was raped by a ‘male colleague’.
Sources with knowledge of the situation said Mr Lehrmann believes he did not have the opportunity to respond to Ms Higgins’ claims in the interview and that he wasn’t contacted by the network beforehand.
Mr Lehrmann was not publicly identified as the alleged rapist until six months later, when he was formally charged with sexual assault.
That case was dropped by the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions on Friday after the first month-long trial was aborted – amid fears a second trial would negatively affect Ms Higgins’ mental health.
A Channel 10 spokesperson on Tuesday said: ‘As is customary, comment was sought but not provided.’
Lisa Wilkinson (pictured left, with Brittany Higgins) was ‘quite angry’ that her interview with Brittany Higgins went to air on Monday, a court heard
Bruce Lehrmann is considering suing Lisa Wilkinson for defamation. He is pictured outside the ACT Supreme Court in October
‘Network 10 has received no notice of any claim or proceedings.’
The Project episode later won a Logie award, with Wilkinson giving a speech that led to the trial being delayed for months.
Meanwhile, it is understood Mr Lehrmann has no plans to change his name or leave the country, despite speculation, and that he is determined to clear his name.
Contrary to reports, he is also not chopping wood in Tasmania to pay off his legal fees, but is struggling to find employment.
Mr Lehrmann was previously earning up to $200,000 a year as a senior adviser for the Liberal party before he was terminated from his job at British American Tobacco in 2021.
Brittany Higgins is seen leaving the ACT Supreme Court flanked by her boyfriend and lawyers
British American Tobacco declined to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.
Mr Lehrmann has not been able to get a job since the allegations went public, despite applying for several opportunities.
It is unclear when Mr Lehrmann will file any lawsuit.
It may not occur until after Ms Higgins’ own civil cases against the Commonwealth and her former bosses, MP Linda Reynolds and Senator Michaelia Cash are completed.
Ms Higgins’s lawyers have sent documents to all parties setting out an intention to sue for sexual harassment, sex discrimination, disability discrimination, negligence, and victimisation.
Brittany Higgins (pictured outside ACT Supreme Court) alleged Bruce Lehrmann raped her in parliament in a TV interview on the Project
She will claim $2.5million for future economic loss, up to $100,000 for past economic loss $100,000 for general damages, $20,000 for future assistance with domestic duties and $150,000 for past and future out-of-pocket expenses.
An official claim is yet to be filed as the involved parties prepare to enter into mediation talks on December 13.
Sources close to Ms Reynolds said she agreed to a time extension that would expire on Tuesday, which means Ms Higgins’ lawyers would need to file their case in court by then.
It is understood Noor Blumer, a founding partner of Blumers Lawyers has been quietly negotiating the claim since February. She has declined to comment on the matter or any mediation talks.
Ms Higgins’ lawyer Leon Zwier, who supported her during the criminal case in Canberra, is aware of the claim.