Lisa Wilkinson dumps Channel 10’s lawyers and hires her own legal team to take on Bruce Lehermann as he sues over her coverage of rape allegations made by Brittany Higgins
- Lisa Wilkinson has dropped Channel 10’s lawyers
- She hired her own legal team, and will foot the bill
- Bruce Lehrmann suing over Brittany Higgins coverage
Lisa Wilkinson has dropped her lawyers at Network 10 and hired a new legal team to defend her during the high-profile defamation case against Brittany Higgins’ accused rapist.
Bruce Lehrmann is suing the network over an interview aired on The Project in February 2021, where Ms Higgins first alleged to Wilkinson that she was raped by ‘a male colleague’ in Parliament House in 2019.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Federal Court on February 7, Mr Lehrmann will allege Channel 10 and Wilkinson were ‘recklessly indifferent to the truth or falsity’ when the allegations against him were made.
Specifically, it will be alleged that Wilkinson ‘was seeking to exploit the false allegations of sexual assault as made by Ms Higgins for her own personal and professional gain’.
Mr Lehrmann, a former political staffer strenuously denies having any sexual contact with Ms Higgins.
Channel 10’s lawyers at Thomson Geer lodged papers on Monday afternoon stating they would represent Wilkinson – however, new papers lodged less than a day later said arrangement had been terminated.
Lisa Wilkinson (pictured with Brittany Higgins) has hired her own lawyers to represent her during defamation trial against Bruce Lehrmann
Federal Court documents lodged on Tuesday indicated Wilkinson would instead be represented by Gillis Delaney Lawyers and its partner Anthony Jefferies, The Australian reported.
She has also hired top defamation barrister Sue Chrysanthou. Is it understood Wilkinson will be funding the legal team herself.
Ms Chrysanthou has won defamation payouts for former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro, Clementine Ford in her case against The Sydney Morning Herald and Age, and Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Mr Lehrmann’s lawyers at Mark O’Brien Legal also filed a statement of claim against News Life Media last Tuesday – an umbrella company of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation which runs news.com.au, over coverage which featured the same allegations by Ms Higgins.
The original TV interview and online article about Ms Higgins’ allegations were published in tandem.
The trial against Bruce Lehrmann (pictured) was derailed by misconduct from jurors
Mr Lehrmann wasn’t named during the TV show nor was he publicly identified as Ms Higgins’ alleged rapist until August 2021, when he was formally charged with sexual assault.
However, it is understood that his colleagues in Parliament House knew the allegations were against him prior to the criminal charge.
Mr Lehrmann had pleaded not guilty during his rape trial in the ACT Supreme Court in October last year. He has continually maintained his innocence.
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.
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.