Bizarre plan for Bruce Lehrmann to ambush Lisa Wilkinson in public

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Channel 7’s Spotlight floated a bizarre plan for Bruce Lehrmann to hang out in Sydney’s Cremorne in the hope of ambushing Lisa Wilkinson for the TV cameras, sources close to Mr Lehrmann claim.

Friends of Mr Lehrmann, who asked not to be named, have told news.com.au that the former Liberal staffer was not enthused by the idea, but it was raised several times in the hope of creating must-see TV.

As the fallout continues over untested allegations in the Federal Court that Mr Lehrmann leaked Brittany Higgins’ private text messages to the program, the former Liberal staffer’s friends are spilling the beans on claims of the program’s ambush plan.

“Bruce very much wanted a third program. But that was a bridge too far,’’ another friend said.

“Seven were desperate for ideas.

“They raised it several times. On many occasions I met with Bruce after meetings and they were pushing for it.

“The plan as described was (they) wanted Bruce to be at a local cafe that they knew Lisa Wilkinson would go to and they would have a TV camera confront her.”

Asked what Mr Lehrmann planned to do, the friend admitted: “I dunno. I don’t know if they thought that far ahead.”

Mr Lehrmann’s inner circle claim that it was just one of a number of wild ideas floated by Spotlight producer Steve Jackson as they spit-balled ideas for future programs.

Jackson was the main producer on the Spotlight program after fellow producer Taylor Auerbach was sent on several overseas trips by the network including a trip with Liam Bartlett to interview Meghan Markle’s family. News.com.au has contacted Jackson for comment.

Friends say Mr Lehrmann was proud of the fact the Spotlight episode was a ratings hit for the Sunday night program.

Another confidante of Mr Lehrmann’s said the Wilkinson plan was “bizarre” and joked it seemed to involve Mr Lehrmann jumping from behind a pot plant to startle the TV star, an idea the former Liberal staffer was keen for, despite the Seven “ideas factory”.

“It wasn’t something that Bruce (Lehrmann) pushed,’’ the source said.

Spotlight had a million viewers and so they were always looking for any excuse for a third program.

“The plan was to spark some sort of public row.”

Mr Lehrmann’s criminal trial was delayed in the wake of Wilkinson’s ill-fated Logies speech, but his barrister Steve Whybrow SC has hailed the speech as keeping him out of jail.

“Frankly, if it wasn’t for Lisa Wilkinson’s speech at the Logies, Bruce would probably be in jail. Thank God for that speech,’’ Mr Whybrow told The Australian.

“If Ms Wilkinson had not said the things she said at the Logies, and the trial judge had not ­adjourned the trial for three months, I genuinely believe Bruce would have been convicted,” he said.

Instead, the barrister agreed to lead Mr Lehrmann’s legal team in early June 2022, with the trial due to start barely three weeks later in the ACT Supreme Court.

“What happened at the Logies, and what was said, is the matter of some contention and discussion at the inquiry. So I won’t say anything about what was said, but it’s a matter of public record that as a result of what was said … we made an application for a temporary stay that it wasn’t fair, on top of everything else, for Bruce to have to face a jury a week after.”

Spotlight executive producer Mark Llewellyn is a TV veteran and former friend of Wilkinson and her husband Peter FitzSimons.

Seven insiders claim they fell out over the program and the EP will not be invited to any Australia Day BBQs at the couple’s home anytime soon.

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