Lisa Wilkinson defence revealed against Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation case

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Lisa Wilkinson has filed her defence in the defamation case brought against her by Bruce Lehrmann.

The former Project host will seek to ‘prove’ the former Liberal Party staffer did rape ‘an intoxicated Brittany Higgins‘ at Parliament House in 2019 when they were colleagues. 

Documents made public by the the Federal Court on Wednesday, also outline that Wilkinson denies seeking to use the allegations of sexual assault against Mr Lehrmann for personal and professional gain.

Mr Lehrmann has consistently denied raping Ms Higgins and launched a defamation suit against Network Ten and News Life Media Pty Ltd in the Federal Court last month.

In a 22-page legal document filed by Ms Wilkinson’s barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC, Wilkinson states she acted as a responsible journalist.

Lisa Wilkinson defence revealed against Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation case

Lisa Wilkinson has filed her defence in the defamation case of former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann, accusing him of lying about his sexual encounter with Brittany Higgins

The TV star who won a Gold Logie for her sit-down interview with Ms Higgins has flatly denied Mr Lehrmann’s claim that she was ‘recklessly indifferent to the truth’ and was ‘fighting’ over the story’s exclusivity with another journalist.

Mr Lehrmann’s civil suit claims Ms Wilkinson was battling over exclusivity with news.com.au’s Samantha Maiden. 

Wilkinson unequivocally denied this claim, stating she never spoke to Maiden in the lead up to the story going to air. 

The defence lodged by Wilkinson stated the allegations against her of recklessness are ‘baseless, unjustified, unsupported by any fact and should be withdrawn.’ 

Daily Mail Australia understands Mr Lehrmann gave Network 10 and news.com.au a settlement offer, but the outlets rejected the offer and pledged to fight the matters. 

Daily Mail Australia understands Mr Lehrmann gave Network 10 and news.com.au a settlement offer, but the outlets rejected the offer and pledged to fight the matters

Daily Mail Australia understands Mr Lehrmann gave Network 10 and news.com.au a settlement offer, but the outlets rejected the offer and pledged to fight the matters

The legal document states that Ms Wilkinson believes Mr Lehrmann ‘took an intoxicated Higgins to Parliament House on 23 March 2019 with the intention of having sexual intercourse with her’.

It also references Ms Higgins consuming 11 standard drinks in four and a half hours while with Mr Lehrmann before sharing a taxi with him that was later diverted to Parliament House.

The defence then alleges Mr Lehrmann and Ms Higgins went up the lift and into Minister for Defense Linda Reynolds’ suite where Ms Higgins fell asleep on the couch.

‘Higgins woke some time later at about 2:30am and Lehrmann was on top of her having sexual intercourse with her,’ the legal filing states.

‘Higgins did not consent to the sexual intercourse with Lehrmann.

‘He engaged in intercourse with Higgins and left her there on her own at about 3am, effectively naked and in an intoxicated state.’

Part of the defamation claim is that the Project interview on February 15, 2021 identified him of raping Ms Higgins as well as making the claim he continued to rape her.

Ms Wilkinson states in her legal filing that she ‘does not know’ that Mr Lehrmann was identifiable by any viewer on that episode.

The former Project star also denies being recklessly indifferent to the truth on the broadcast and pointed to Mr Lehrmann being reached out to multiple times to respond to the broadcast but he chose not to.

Another part of Mr Lehrmann’s defamation claim is that Ms Wilkinson could have sought to use the allegations for her professional and personal gain, something Ms Wilkinson denies.

The TV presenter also went on to say at no time did she sense Ms Higgins’ allegations were false.

Mr Lehrmann was charged with raping Ms Higgins six months after the interviews were aired. 

He pleaded not guilty during his rape trial in the ACT Supreme Court in October last year.

In June, Ms Wilkinson won a Logie for her powerful television interview with former Ms Higgins, when she alleged she was raped by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019

In June, Ms Wilkinson won a Logie for her powerful television interview with former Ms Higgins, when she alleged she was raped by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019

In June, Ms Wilkinson won a Logie for her powerful television interview with former Ms Higgins, when she alleged she was raped by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019.

In her acceptance speech, Ms Wilkinson praised the former Liberal staffer which led to the trial of Ms Higgins’ accused rapist being delayed.

The trial was aborted in November due to misconduct by a member of the jury. 

The ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC then dropped the trial entirely due to concerns over Ms Higgins’ mental health.

See also  Brittany Higgins: Linda Reynolds breaks her silence in bombshell evidence

The case will return to court on March 16.

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