The eye-wateringly high legal bill the former Seven staffer who blew up the Bruce Lehrmann trial wants the rapist to pay


A former Channel Seven producer says he has filed a legal bill for almost $60,000, most of which he wants Bruce Lehrmann to pay after giving evidence and submitting documents in the defamation case against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson.

Taylor Auerbach was part of the team on Seven’s Spotlight program when it secured exclusive interviews with Lehrmann, which aired in June and August last year.

In April, he succeeded in reopening Lehrmann’s defamation case when he swore four affidavits containing allegations against the former Liberal staffer and his former employer.

Mr. Auerbach alleged that Seven reimbursed Lehrmann for those interviews with lavish dinners at fancy restaurants with $300 steaks, and also covered his costs for prostitutes, Thai massages and cocaine.

Lehrmann specifically denied receiving $10,000 worth of Thai massages on Seven’s corporate credit card, leading Auerbach to threaten to sue him for defamation.

He hired defamation lawyer Rebekah Giles, who charges $900 an hour, and made the same claims on the witness stand in federal court, racking up a huge legal bill at the same time.

Lehrmann lost the defamation lawsuit on April 15 when Judge Michael Lee found on a balance of probabilities that he raped Brittany Higgins at Parliament House in 2019, and is now liable for the legal costs of his opponents – including Mr Auerbach.

Taylor Auerbach hired defamation lawyer Rebekah Giles (pictured), who charges $900 per hour

Taylor Auerbach is pictured outside Federal Court in April.  He was a producer for Seven's Spotlight programme

Taylor Auerbach is pictured outside Federal Court in April. He was a producer for Seven’s Spotlight programme

There was a costs hearing at the Federal Court on Wednesday, with Network Ten, Wilkinson and Mr Auerbach submitting submissions setting out what Lehrmann should pay.

According to the affidavit filed by Ms. Giles on behalf of Mr. Auerbach, the costs associated with producing evidence for Lehrmann’s lawyers in response to a subpoena issued at his request amounted to $38,145.25 – backdated to April.

Evidence included his resignation letter from Channel Seven, medical reports referring to psychiatric injuries and material referring to allegations of misuse of funds during his employment at Seven.

The costs were broken down by the hourly rate of each attorney at Ms. Giles’ firm, Giles George.

Mr. Auerbach owed Ms. Giles and Special Prosecutor Jeremy Marel a combined $24,420 for nearly 30 hours of work together, he owed two associates $13,428.25 for a total of 26 hours of work, and a paralegal owed $297 for nearly an hour.

Lehrmann was offered a discount of approximately $2,000 on April 19, bringing the cost to $36,000.

He then received another offer on April 30 with a further discount of $4,000, dropping the price to $34,000.

Bruce Lehrmann is photographed outside the Federal Court on April 15 after the verdict was handed down

Bruce Lehrmann is photographed outside the Federal Court on April 15 after the verdict was handed down

Lehrmann’s lawyers rejected both offers.

Court documents show Mr Auerbach also charged Network Ten $20,000 because the broadcaster subpoenaed him as a witness in the trial and had to fly back from New Zealand to appear in court.

However, he then offered the network a 15 percent discount, bringing the total amount to $17,000.

In court Wednesday, Judge Lee said, ‘That’s not going to happen.

“The whole idea that someone can spend $17,500 to comply with a subpoena to testify is one that strikes me because… it’s not an issue.

‘People who receive a summons should not assume that they are entitled to reimbursement of legal costs, except in special circumstances and certain costs.’

Judge Lee will rule on costs at a later date.