Bruce Lehrmann spotted in Sydney amid fresh allegations

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Bruce Lehrmann has emerged for the first time since allegations were aired in the Federal Court that he partied with sex workers with a Spotlight producer as the Seven Network sought to seal the deal on an exclusive interview.

The former Liberal staffer has moved out of his Balgowlah home today that was paid for by Seven since last year as part of the deal.

Mr Lehrmann was spotted on Friday afternoon on the move with his friend Rob Porter as former Spotlight producer Taylor Auerbach continued his evidence in the Federal Court.

It’s the first time he’s been since since last surfacing in Sydney after dark on Easter Monday ahead of Ten’s sensational bid to reopen the trial.

After spending the day locked inside his Balgowlah home where he is living rent-free for a year under a deal with Seven, Mr Lehrmann made the 20-minute drive to Paddington Monday evening.

Dressed in a polo shirt and sandals, Mr Lehrmann was again joined by two mates including sailor Rob Porter.

Channel 7 has previously confirmed it would stop paying Mr Lehrmann’s rent on Friday after the former Liberal staffer enjoyed one final rent-free weekend with a barefoot blonde spotted vaping on his balcony on Easter Sunday.

Mr Lehrmann, who is keenly awaiting Justice Michael Lee’s verdict on his defamation case was photographed leaving the property on Friday and packing his golf clubs into the back of a vehicle.

He then returned to the same property he was photographed at over the weekend carrying in a savoury bake and a salad.

Channel 7 sources have confirmed to that “Bruce’s accommodation arrangements beyond April 5 have nothing to do with us.”

Mr Lehrmann then drove to his new digs in Sydney where he was photographed carrying a box that says “a little box of joy.”

A grimacing Mr Lehrmann was wearing a baseball cap and chinos as he lugged his worldly possessions into his new digs.

His possessions included a treasured set of golf clubs. Mr Lehrmann, as evidence in the Federal Court was adduced, is a keen golfer.

His friend, Rob Porter, was clutching a recyclable shopping bag and the obligatory moving day paraphernalia of a checked zip up plastic bag.

Meanwhile Auerbach’s texts to his boss that Mr Lehrmann was “on the warpath” and claiming that the Thai masseuse night was “no anomaly” have been published by the Federal Court.

The former Seven producer has previously told the Federal Court that after calling two Thai masseuses to his Elizabeth Bay home in November 2022, when Mr Lehrmann was in situ, that the pair then spent another night together in January.

Mr Lehrmann has denied the Thai masseuse claim and insists he never got a massage.

During a subsequent alleged “bender” in January, 2023, Auerbach has claimed in evidence to the Federal Court that cocaine was bought and used and that more sex workers were called.

On January 5, 2023, he claims that Mr Lehrmann bought a bag of cocaine at a dinner at Franca at Potts Point and “put it on a plate” at the Meriton hotel room that was being paid for by Seven.

Text messages published by the Federal Court on Friday show Auerbach texted his then-boss, Spotlight’s supervising producer Steve Jackson, on January 5 and 6.

Auerbach said he contacted Jackson and said he was worried, given the previous events with the Thai masseuses.

Auerbach said he recalled texting Jackson that Bruce was “on the warpath again”.

“This is f**ked,’’ he said.

At 12.15am, after Auerbach claims he took cocaine, he texted “warpath again”.

On Thursday, he told the court that this was a reference to the previous incident in November 2022 involving Thai masseuses.

However, at 3.37am on January 6, Auerbach texted again after he alleges he spent the night taking cocaine with Mr Lehrmann.

“OMG I have got the greatest yarns ever,’’ he told his boss.

Mr Lehrmann has told journalists that he did not get a massage after dining with Spotlight executive producer Mark Llewllyn and Auerbach on November 25, 2022.

Auerbach told Seven immediately after the incident that he had requested the masseuses attend his Elizabeth Bay home.

At the time, he was in the company of Mr Lehrmann and another man about 1am on the night in question.

The Weekend Australian newspaper reported on Easter Saturday that Seven sources familiar with confidential discussions around the incident and the aftermath say that Auerbach told Seven at the time he was drunk on the night and was “disgusted” with himself.

The masseuses were booked without the knowledge or consent of anyone else at Seven, including Mr Llewllyn and Jackson.

But now Auerbach, the Spotlight producer who booked two Thai masseuses on a Seven credit card after a big night out with Mr Lehrmann, has engaged high-profile lawyer Rebekah Giles to send defamation concerns letters to the former Liberal staffer.

The legal salvo is detailed in a concerns notice sent that complains “false” statements have been made regarding Auerbach.

It follows Mr Lehrmann suggesting the story is “bizarre and untrue” and that a “disgruntled” ex-Spotlight producer was behind the claim.

“The press statement is likely to devastate Mr Auerbach’s professional reputation,” Ms Giles said.

She continued that Mr Lehrmann’s press statement conveyed a defamatory imputation that “Taylor Auerbach lied to the press about Bruce Lehrmann being bought a massage by a Seven Network employee”.

The objective of a concerns notice process is to resolve disputes regarding alleged defamation without the need for litigation.

It generally invites the respondent to “offer to make amends” to be made to the aggrieved person within 28 days of having received the concerns notice.

The offer may include an offer to publish an apology or an offer to pay compensation.

Seven has confirmed Thai masseuses were called to the property by the Spotlight producer and the fact a company credit card was used without the knowledge or consent of TV executives after a drunken night out.

At the time, Spotlight was desperately trying to secure the story amid 60 Minutes – who refused to pay for the interview – also chasing a sit-down with the man accused of raping Brittany Higgins.

Mr Lehrmann pleaded not guilty to that charge and maintains his innocence. The trial was aborted due to juror misconduct and the charge was later withdrawn following concerns over Ms Higgins’ mental health.

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