Bruce Lehrmann spotted with barefoot blonde as urgent hearing called in Channel 10 defamation case

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The Federal Court is set to hear a bombshell application lodged by Channel 10 to reopen the Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial on the eve of Justice Michael Lee’s judgement.

The mystery interlocutory hearing to reopen the case is understood to be linked to evidence from former Channel 7 producer Taylor Auerbach and is slated for this Tuesday.

While further details are not yet known the test to reopen a case generally relies on legal argument that fresh evidence has come to light that was not available during the trial.

It comes as Channel 7 has confirmed it will stop paying Bruce Lehrmann’s rent on Friday as the former Liberal staffer enjoys 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, which was originally set to be handed down on Thursday, April 4, was photographed leaving a friend’s home on Sunday after overnighting there with his golden retriever, Sunny.

He then returned to his Balgowlah home before a blonde woman in a black dress arrived and was spotted vaping barefoot on the balcony.

It is not known if he will need to vacate the property on the day after the Federal Court verdict, but Channel 7 sources have confirmed to news.com.au that “Bruce’s accommodation arrangements beyond April 5 have nothing to do with us”.

The Balgowlah home was the location of a recent dinner party where Mr Lehrmann was photographed with a Chihuahua, also named Bruce, and posing for a photo in front of a line of white flour “as a joke”.

The Daily Mail reported last month that the astonishing photo where Bruce Lehrmann appears to snort a white substance off his dinner table was being hawked to media companies for money.

However, Mr Lehrmann revealed the image was taken as a joke and actually shows Mr Lehrmann pretending to snort plain flour.

Mr Lehrmann then supplied another photo himself to prove it was a joke.

“Very clearly this is a joke at the last few days of amateur reporting,” he said.

“This has been an inappropriate invasion of my private life and a violation of my privacy.

“Any direct or indirect insinuation that something nefarious was happening is grossly defamatory.”

His last days at the Balgowlah pad follow separate revelations a Seven Network credit card was paid to book two Thai masseuses after a night out with Channel 7 executives.

Mr Lehrmann has told journalists that he did not get a massage after dining with Channel 7’s executive producer Mark Llewllyn and producer Taylor Auerbach on November 25, 2022.

The masseuses were booked without the knowledge or consent of Mr Llewllyn or anyone else at Seven. There’s no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Lehrmann.

Auerbach told Channel 7 immediately after the incident that he had requested the masseuses attend his Elizabeth Bay home.

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

The unemployed former Liberal staffer signed on the dotted line for a 12 month deal with Spotlight in April last year.

But with that media deal coming to a close, Mr Lehrmann and his golden retriever Sunny are in a race against time to find a new home – and a method to pay for it.

He recently revealed he planned to sue the ACT government for defamation over comments made by the former Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold outside of court.

Mr Lehrmann, who hasn’t worked full time since mid 2021, is currently studying law.

He agreed to a tell-all interview with Liam Bartlett last year under the contract – but only if Channel 7 agreed to pay his rent for an entire year.

The Seven Network later told journalists and the Walkleys Foundation that he wasn’t paid a fee for the interview but they had covered some accommodation costs during filming.

Court documents in Mr Lehrmann’s Federal Court defamation case later revealed the Seven Network had agreed to pay ongoing accommodation costs.

Under the Seven Network agreement he agreed to provide “all information, documents, video and photographs” reasonably requested by Seven.

Mr Lehrmann told the Federal Court he did not provide documents as part of the deal and only provided an interview.

In evidence to the Federal Court, Mr Lehrmann revealed that Channel 7 had been paying for his rental accommodation after the exclusive interview aired in May, 2023.

“And it was part of the agreement, isn’t it, that you were paid for 12 months of accommodation by Channel 7?’’ barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC asked.

“Yes,” Mr Lehrmann replied.

Ms Chrysanthou SC asked if the agreement to pay Mr Lehrmann’s rent in the contract was from June 2023 to June 2024.

“Umm, well, yes. For filming in those places,” he replied.

However, the document produced to the court states the accommodation deal runs for 12 months from April 21.

Asked how much the year’s rent was worth, Mr Lehrmann said he didn’t know because the “network handled the accommodation arrangements”.

Executive producer Mark Llewellyn told news.com.au in May last year that the Seven Network had not paid Mr Lehrmann for the exclusive interview.

“No one was paid,” Mr Llewellyn told news.com.au.

“7NEWS Spotlight made no payment to Bruce Lehrmann for the interview, however the program assisted with accommodation as part of the filming of the story.”

In the wake of the revelations of the secret rent-for-interview deal, the Walkley Foundation stripped the Spotlight program from the finalists list for a journalism award.

Seven defended its decision to pay for former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann’s rent in Sydney, which was paid in return for his Spotlight interviews.

“We said at the time we were assisting Bruce Lehrmann with his accommodation costs. It was well-reported back then. The 7NEWS Spotlight report was rightfully judged by the esteemed Walkley Foundation as one of the top three scoops of 2023.”

Comment has been sought from Mr Lehrmann.