Bruce Lehrmann has revealed how prior to his trial for the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins, the judge left him shocked with a comment about his alleged guilt.
The former Liberal staffer, 27, who has always denied the rape allegations against him, claimed Chief Justice Lucy McCallum told his lawyer that if he pleaded guilty, she would consider that plea in sentencing.
Mr Lehrmann broke his silence in his first interview since the rape trial, claiming the comment showed “bias” against him.
He also said he was not made aware of the comments until after the trial, as his lawyer Steven Whybrow SC was trying to ‘keep him alive’.
Bruce Lehrmann has claimed that prior to his trial for the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins, the judge informed his lawyer that if he pleaded guilty, she would consider that plea when sentencing him
“I only found out about this a few weeks ago and I was choking on tears,” he shared the Australian.
“I assumed her comments meant that if I did the ‘right thing’ in pleading guilty, since Ms. Higgins had mental problems, the judge would do the right thing by convicting me.”
He added that he was “pretty upset” by the comments, but thought it was an “incredibly good” decision not to tell him.
“He has a duty of care and the amount of stress I’ve been through, he was trying to keep me alive.”
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Chief Justice Lucy MacCallum.
Earlier, Mr. Lehrmann also told the Federal Court that he lied on legal advice that he was “deserved of millions” from a defamation payout to placate his girlfriend.
He claimed his girlfriend was “distraught” after Ms. Higgins appeared on the project and so he put on “a brave face” to make her feel better.
After his cross-examination, where he revealed he was “outraged” by the allegations, court documents were made public with all the texts he sent and received on the day the news broke.
However, this was challenged by lawyers for the media he is suing, who say the text messages showed he was well aware that he could file a libel suit at the time.
Lawyers for Ten Network and News Corp want Mr. Lehrmann’s lawsuit dismissed because he failed to file suit within the required 12-month timeframe.
They argue that the texts are evidence in their favor as they contradict his claim that his lawyers had advised him not to initiate defamation proceedings.
It comes as Mr Lehrmann’s text messages from the night of Ms Higgins’ allegations were revealed.
He texted a friend asking “have all the gear” and said “need bags,” court documents have revealed.
The former Liberal Party staffer told friends he wanted to get “lit” because “nobody had work tomorrow” on the night of February 15, 2021.
That was the same night Ms Higgins appeared on The Project claiming she was raped in Parliament House in 2019 by an unnamed man.
Mr Lehrmann is suing Channel 10 and news.com.au for defamation over reports published in March 2021 about the allegations. He claims the reports led certain people to identify him as the suspect.
He has always denied the allegations.
Following his cross-examination on Thursday, where he revealed he was “outraged” by the allegations, court documents were made public with all the texts he sent and received the day the news broke.
A message log shows that the staffer spent the evening in his lawyer Warwick Korn’s office, drinking whiskey and watching The Project – featuring an interview with Brittany Higgins.
The former Liberal Party staffer told friends he wanted to get “lit” because “no one had work tomorrow” on the night of February 15, 2021. A mock-up of his WhatsApp messages is shown
Mr Lehrmann is suing Channel 10 and news.com.au for libel over reports published in March 2021 of allegations made by Ms Higgins (pictured). He claims the reports led certain people to identify him as the suspect
He then texted his friend four consecutive texts saying: “need bags,” “let’s finish it,” and “no one has work tomorrow,” followed by “pay,” “let’s light.”
About 20 minutes later, he texted a work friend saying “got all the stuff,” but she replied that she was home and they should “keep it clean.”
He then texted another friend to say “Come here, it’s okay,” followed by “How many bags?”
At the same time, a colleague texted him saying ‘tomorrow won’t be good’ and that he should ‘keep the s*** in check’.
The work friend added, “Clear your name friend, that’s all that matters. You only have your name and one name.’
“You need to take this seriously, mate. Go home and don’t leave your apartment.’
The court documents also reveal reports from early in the day when Mr Lehrmann found out about the news after a friend texted him with a link to the story asking if he was ‘this girl???’ knew.
Mr. Lehrmann replied that he had ‘worked with her briefly’ and ‘(she) was at team drinks etc’.
His friend replied that it was a “nice accusation” and asked if he “knew who the girl was.”
Mr. Lehrmann said he had no idea.
“I have not been approached by anyone,” he wrote.
About half an hour later another friend texted him asking ‘if there was any gossip about who the Canberra rapist is’ before adding ‘the yarn says ‘rising star’ so that rules out our friends but who else ?’.
He replied that he “had no idea at all” and that he had “not been approached by anyone” before saying he “assumed it would fizzle.”
‘She [Ms Higgins] is on the project tonight, which isn’t exactly prime time stuff,” he texted, before adding “they wouldn’t mention would they…pretty libelous stuff.”
Mr Lehrmann sent a series of messages to his then-girlfriend Greta Sinclair after the allegations against him aired (pictured). He later told the court that most of them were “made up” to “appease” her because she was upset
His friend replied, “Well, it’s libelous.”
The Project or news.com.au article did not mention Mr. Lehrmann. In his defamation case, he claims their stories contain details that “could identify him” to certain people.
By 3pm Mr Lehrmann had secured lawyer Warwick Korn and sat down with him in his Sydney office, enraged when Higgins accused him of raping her.
Texts sent the next day show him thanking the lawyer for his support.
Mr. Lehrmann’s girlfriend at the time, Greta Sinclair, was distraught over the extraordinary televised accusations.
He calmed her down by firing off messages suggesting his lawyer had told him he was a “pawn” and “part of a larger political hatchet.”
During further cross-examination on Thursday, Mr. Lehrmann admitted to Ten’s lawyer, Matthew Collins KC, that Mr. Korn never said that.
Mr. Lehrmann’s girlfriend at the time, Greta Sinclair, was distraught over the extraordinary televised accusations
Brittany Higgins leaves ACT Magistrates Court with members of her legal team in Canberra on October 14
Text messages appeared in which Mr. Lehrmann told Ms. Sinclair that he was having a “glass of whiskey” in Mr. Korn’s office in anticipation of Lisa Wilkinson’s interview with Ms. Higgins on the current affairs show.
“If I’m called tonight, I’m up for millions of slander… (Mr. Korn) said I won’t see the light of a courtroom,” he reassured her.
Later that night, at 10:02 p.m., he sent Mrs. Sinclair another message saying, “[Mr Korn] continues to take notes though, very professional’.
While being grilled in court, Mr. Lehrmann admitted that Mr. Korn did not, in fact, take notes during their conversation and insisted that he just wanted to make Ms. Sinclair feel good.
“I wanted her to think I had my house in order.”