Bruce Lehrmann case delayed as Taylor Auerbach alleges he was subject to ‘bullying and ‘antisemitism’

The Nightly
Bruce Lehmann’s defamation trial has been bit by another bombshell revelation.
Bruce Lehmann’s defamation trial has been bit by another bombshell revelation. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

The Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial has been hit with yet another bombshell, with claims by former Spotlight producer Taylor Auerbach that he had been a victim of “sustained bullying” and “antisemitism”.

The claims emerged in the Federal Court on Thursday morning, which was reopened to hear evidence from Mr Auerbach, who has pulled the curtain on how an exclusive interview with Mr Lehrmann was secured.

The court was told Mr Auerbach took out a psychological injury claim against his bosses at Seven, claiming he was the victim of “sustained bullying and antisemitism over a significant period”.

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Mr Auerbach’s lawyer, Rebekah Giles, told the court Mr Auerbach would have trouble producing the documents relating to that claim before he is due to give evidence at 11.15am.

The court was adjourned, before Justice Lee ordered Mr Auerbach’s lawyers to produce as many document as possible that relate to his departure from the network before he takes the stand.

According to affidavits provided by Mr Auerbach, he alleges the network covered the costs for sex workers, illegal drugs, a round of golf and a $350 steak to secure the interview.

During the morning hearings, Justice Lee also said it would be unfair to require Lehrmann’s lawyers to finish cross-examining Mr Auerbach before a subpoena for documents was complied with — which could lead to further delays.

Mr Auerbach made a claim for psychological injury against Seven following the expiration of his two-year employment contract in August, he told the court in an affidavit.

“Our client would have to pull together for the first time all of the documents relating to his claim,” Ms Giles said.

Justice Lee said the documents might be relevant to an alleged abuse of process as well as determining the credit of witnesses, including Lehrmann.

Seven has also been told to provide a subpoena explaining why some documents had only been recently produced following further searches prompted by Mr Auerbach’s affidavit.

After a successful last-minute bid by Ten, Mr Auerbach is expected to testify in court that Lehrmann leaked confidential texts from Brittany Higgins to Seven in breach of what is known as the Harman undertaking.

The former Liberal staffer gained access to the private and personal texts through the abandoned criminal case against him, but the material was not tendered into evidence.

Mr Auerbach claims Lehrmann supplied Seven with material on a paid golf trip to Tasmania as well as at a property rented for the ex-staffer by the network in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Mr Auerbach also said Seven paid tens of thousands of dollars to Lehrmann, including reimbursing him for “illicit drugs and prostitutes” and covering costs for expensive dinners, plane flights and accommodation.

Seven has denied Mr Auerbach’s allegations, labelling them “false and misleading”.

Lehrmann rejects that anything sexual happened between himself and Ms Higgins. She accuses him of raping her in the Canberra parliamentary office of Senator Linda Reynolds in 2019.

He is seeking substantial damages from Ten claiming a report aired on The Project in February 2021 ruined his reputation.

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