Former Seven Producer Claims In Court That Network Paid For Bruce Lehrmann’s Sex Workers & Coke

As Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation case against Network 10 reopened, the defence’s newest witness Taylor Auerbach has presented his testimony to the Federal Court, which included new bombshell allegations. Auerbach gave evidence that his former employer, Channel Seven, allegedly paid for Lehrmann to have cocaine and sex workers while the network was trying to arrange an interview with him.

The former producer for Seven’s Spotlight program told the court on Thursday that part of the process in securing said interview included Auerbach being tasked with “building up a rapport” with Lehrmann.

“I had been appointed to be his babysitter, minder, looking after him,” said Auerbach.

Auerbach told Justice Michael Lee that while operating as Lehrmann’s “babysitter” on the night of January 5, 2023, he saw the former Liberal staffer purchase illicit drugs during a dinner at an inner-Sydney Potts Point restaurant.

“Mr Lehrmann had over dinner purchased a bag of cocaine while we were dining at Franca,” Auerbach said.

Auerbach testified that after the dinner, the pair then went to a hotel room that Seven arranged for Lehrmann to stay at. There, Lehrmann began discussing and arranging for sex workers to visit the room, as well as plating up the cocaine.

“When we got upstairs to the room he pulled that out and started to put it on a plate, and then started talking to me about a prospective Spotlight story and his desire to order prostitutes to the Meriton that night,” he recounted.

Auerbach continued, saying he told Lehrmann he “didn’t have any money” to pay for the sex workers, and that Lehrmann should pay the cost himself.

The “babysitter” texted his then-boss at the time to communicate that he was concerned by what Lehrmann was doing, saying that “this is fucked.”

“I told him that Bruce was on the warpath again and that it was no anomaly,” Auerbach told the court.

Auerbach also said that Seven received an invoice from Lehrmann to “compensate” him for the drugs and sex workers.

“I recall seeing the invoice, it was sent to either me or our unit manager or both of us, but it was an invoice for the period covering that trip in Sydney,” he shared.

Auerbach alleged the network fulfilled the invoice, though he did not see a payment receipt.

In a statement from Seven shared after Auerbach’s court appearance, a spokesperson denied any reimbursement.

“Seven did not reimburse Bruce Lehrmann for expenditure that has allegedly been used to pay for illegal drugs or prostitutes, and has never done so,” the read statement said.

During Auerbach’s cross-examination, Lehrmann’s barrister challenged the ex-producer on his motive for making these allegations now.

He put it to Auerbach that he hated his former colleagues and employer, and was lying “to do damage” to Seven.

Auerbach denied this.

Despite talking about the Spotlight interview, Lehrmann was apparently not willing to discuss with Auerbach any details on the accusations against him from Brittany Higgins. Higgins accused Lehrmann of raping her in Parliament House in 2019 — he strongly denies this allegation.

“I put it to him that we would have to ask him hard questions about the night in Canberra given that was the whole purpose of the Spotlight investigation,” said Auerbach.

Ultimately, that night Lehrmann agreed to an interview on Spotlight, which aired in June and August of 2023.

In compensation for this, it was confirmed by Lehrmann that he received free accommodation for a year from Seven.

In November of 2023, Lehrmann took Network 10 for defamation, arguing that it defamed him by broadcasting a story on The Project that platformed Brittany Higgins’ allegation of rape. Though he was not named, Lehrmann has argued he was easily identifiable and defamed by Higgins’ interview with Lisa Wilkinson.

[Image: Getty]