Lisa Wilkinson, a former host of The Project on Channel Ten, has been named in a defamation lawsuit filed by Bruce Lehrmann, who denies allegations that he raped former political staffer Brittany Higgins.
Wilkinson’s defense states that it was her colleagues’ job to fact-check the allegations before publication, and she named over eight Channel Ten colleagues who she believes checked the validity of the allegations.
She also said that Samantha Maiden’s news.com.au story was published 12 hours before her TV interview went to air, and believed that Maiden and News Corp had conducted their own fact-checking and legal before the online article was published. Wilkinson’s defense will argue that it is more likely than not that Lehrmann did rape Higgins.
Mr. Lehrmann was charged with raping Ms. Higgins in August 2021, six months after her allegations were published, and was subsequently subject to a month-long rape trial by jury in the ACT Supreme Court in October last year, but it was aborted due to misconduct by a member of the jury.
The Director of Public Prosecutions then dropped the matter entirely due to concerns over Ms. Higgins’ mental health.
Wilkinson resigned from The Project last year, citing targeted toxicity from sections of the media. Despite her lengthy career in journalism, the court document notes that Wilkinson “is not familiar with the specifics of defamation law.”