Bruce Lehrmann and his girlfriend broke up just days after Brittany Higgins went public with her rape allegations – after he sent her a series of texts about made-up conversations with his lawyer in order to ‘placate’ her.
Mr Lehrmann is suing Channel 10 and news.com.au for defamation over a TV interview and online article, both published on February 15 2021, where Ms Higgins alleged a ‘male colleague’ had raped her at Parliament House in 2019.
He was not named in Ms Higgins’ interview with Lisa Wilkinson on The Project or the website article, but claims his identity would have been known in political circles.
He has always denied having any sexual contact with Ms Higgins.
During an interlocutory hearing in the Federal Court on Thursday, Mr Lehrmann was cross-examined about reams of messages he sent to his then-partner, Greta Sinclair, who was ‘distraught’ when she found out the rape allegations were about him.
Mr Lehrmann said he tried to make her feel better by fabricating information – falsely claiming he had ‘two lawyers’, could ‘make millions’ by suing for defamation, and that his lawyer said he was ‘part of a bigger political hatchet job’.
He admitted to lawyers for the network and news website that those messages were not true – ‘I was, in a sense, putting on a brave face for Ms Sinclair,’ he told the court.
Courtroom documents revealed Ms Sinclair did appear placated by his messages – she responded saying: ‘I love you and we will get through this’.
Bruce Lehrmann is pictured with his solicitor, Rachel Fisher, outside the ACT Supreme Court in October when he stood trial
She also ordered him Chinese takeaway ‘if you are hungry later’, and agreed to keep information about the allegations against Mr Lehrmann in their ‘close circle’.
However, Daily Mail Australia understands the relationship ended within the following days.
The couple had only been together for about six months prior to February 15 2021, but text messages between them earlier that day show they appeared to be in a loving relationship.
At about 11.30am on the day the allegations aired, Ms Sinclair texted Mr Lehrmann to say she ordered a BLAT sandwich for lunch, and asked if he could take March 10 off work so they could have lunch at an expensive seafood restaurant in Sydney.
‘If you can take it off and I’ll pay for most of it you can do Ubers,’ she said.
Mr Lehrmann said he would try and take that day off, to which Ms Sinclair replied: ‘Thanks baby all good if you can’t I’ll find something to do.’
At about 1pm, she said: ‘Going for a walk xx’.
He replied: ‘Babe enjoy xx.’
An hour later, Ms Sinclair texted again to say: ‘You must be busy today! Not messaging much haha.’
At 2.11pm she wrote: ‘Hope everything is OK.’
Three minutes later, she added: ‘I love you.’
Text messages between Bruce Lehrmann and his ex-girlfriend on the day Brittany Higgins went public with her rape allegations (pictured: a mock-up of the messages)
Over two hours between 2.10pm and 5pm that day, Mr Lehrmann spoke to Ms Sinclair to tell her about Ms Higgins’ allegations.
He explained to he was at his lawyer’s office ‘having a scotch’.
‘He’s very good,’ Mr Lehrmann said of the lawyer.
‘Ms Sinclair replied: ‘OK good to hear.’
‘I’ve been pretty upset… It is scary.’
At that stage, Mr Lehrmann started telling Ms Sinclair that he would potentially make ‘millions’ in a defamation case against Channel 10 and news.com.au.
Their final exchange for the evening was between 9pm and 9.40pm, when Mr Lehrmann told Ms Sinclair he felt ‘comfortable’ knowing the conversation between him and the lawyer was ‘confidential’.
‘The same as I told you, babe,’ he added.
She replied: ‘Easy babe xx.’
At about 10.10pm, Mr Lehrmann texted a friend to say ‘need bags’.
Over the next half hour, he sent multiple texts to various people, saying ‘let’s get it done’ and ‘no one has work tomorrow’.
Ms Higgins (pictured outside ACT Supreme Court) alleged Mr Lehrmann raped her. He denies the allegations
A further text indicated someone was ‘paying,’ and another said ‘let’s get lit’.
The court documents were released by the Federal Court as part of the defamation lawsuits Mr Lehrmann filed against the media outlets in February. However, the interlocutory hearing on Thursday was largely to address why it took him two years to launch the case.
Applicants normally have 12 months after publication to file a defamation lawsuit, but Mr Lehrmann’s case was filed two years later.
His lawyers argued that it was unreasonable for him to launch the case any earlier.
Barristers for the broadcaster and news website argued he should not be allowed to sue for defamation because it was reasonable for him to have filed the lawsuit within the first year.
The hearing was adjourned until March 23.
Bruce Lehrmann asked friend if they had ‘any gear’ and said he wanted to ‘get lit’ on the night Brittany Higgins’ interview was aired
Bruce Lehrmann told his friends he wanted to ‘get lit’ as ‘no one had work tomorrow’ on the night of February 15, 2021.
That was the same night Ms Higgins appeared on The Project and alleged she had been raped in Parliament House in 2019 by a ‘a male colleague’ who was not named.
After his cross-examination in the Federal Court on Thursday, court documents were made public showing all the texts he sent and received on the day the news broke.
A message log shows the staffer spent the evening in his lawyer Warwick Korn’s office drinking scotch and watching Brittany Higgins’ interview with Lisa Wilkinson on The Project.
Mr Lehmann texted his friend four consecutive texts, which said ‘need bags’ and ‘let’s get it done’.
Further texts said ‘no one has work tomorrow’, another indicated someone was ‘paying’, and another message said ‘let’s get lit’.
About 20 minutes later, he texted a work friend saying ‘got any gear’ but she replied and urged them to ‘keep it clean’.
The former Liberal party staffer told his friends he wanted to ‘get lit’ as ‘no one had work tomorrow’ on the night of February 15, 2021. Mock-up of his WhatsApp messages is shown
He then texted another friend to say ‘get here, it’s good’ followed by ‘how many bags?’
The court documents also reveal messages from early in the day, when Mr Lehrmann discovered the news after a friend texted him with a link to the story asking if he ‘knew this chick???’
Mr Lehrmann said he ‘worked with her briefly’ and ‘(she) was at team drinks etc’.
His friend replied saying it was a ‘pretty cooked allegation’ and asked if he ‘knew who the girl was’.
Mr Lehrmann said he didn’t have the ‘faintest idea’.
‘I haven’t been approached by anyone’ he wrote.
Around half an hour later, another friend texted him asking ‘if had any gossip on who the Canberra rape guy is’ before adding ‘the yarn says ”rising star” so that rules out our mates but who else?’.
He replied he had ‘no idea in the slightest’ and that he ‘hadn’t been approached by anyone’ before saying that he ‘assumed it will fizzle’.
‘She [Ms Higgins] is on the Project tonight which isn’t exactly prime time stuff’ he texted, before adding ‘they wouldn’t name would they … pretty slanderous stuff’.
His friend replied: ‘Well it’s defamatory’.
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