Lisa Wilkinson has been given a set of rules to follow by The Project ahead of giving evidence in the trial of Brittany Higgins’ accused rapist.
Ms Higgins, a former Liberal staffer, alleges her then-colleague Bruce Lehrmann raped her in the former defence minister’s office after a drunken night out in Canberra in March 2019.
Mr Lehrmann denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty to sexual intercourse without consent.
Ms Wilkinson is listed as one of more than 50 witnesses in the trial and is understood to have been given rules by the Channel 10 program to avoid the risk of legal issues.
The Project co-host won’t be reading the headlines for the period the trial features in the news, and won’t appear on the show on the days she gives evidence, The Australian’s Media Diary column reported.
Her co-hosts will not discuss the trial, other than reading out the news headlines.
Brittany Higgins arrives at the ACT Supreme Court in Canberra for the trial of her alleged rapist
Ms Wilkinson will continue to appear on the program when she can on Thursday, Friday and Sunday evenings.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Channel 10 for comment.
The revelation comes as Ms Higgins was declared ‘unavailable’ to appear as a witness in the trial on Monday.
She was in the witness box in ACT’s Supreme Court last week during cross-examination, and was expected to face a further grilling today over her claims.
On Friday, Lehrmann’s defence lawyer Steven Whybrow quizzed Ms Higgins about how she managed to land a $325,000 book deal before she made an official statement to police.
The court heard Lisa Wilkinson’s journalist husband, Peter FitzSimons, suggested she write a biography about her experiences – to which Ms Higgins told them she had already started drafting chapters.
Texts she sent to her father and boyfriend were shared, as were messages about a potential $325,000 book deal with Lisa Wilkinson’s husband, Peter FitzSimons. Pictured are Wilkinson (left) with Ms Higgins
Lisa Wilkinson (left) is pictured with her journalist and author husband Peter FitzSimons
Mr Whybrow also put to Ms Higgins she pretended to have doctor’s appointments in the week after the alleged assault to ‘bolster’ her story – which she vehemently denied.
Ms Higgins earlier told the court she made multiple doctor’s appointments with the intention of going but could not bring herself to attend them.
‘I intended to do the right thing but every time I went home I was collapsing and unable to get out of bed because I was so deeply depressed because I had been assaulted at work by a colleague,’ she told the court.
Mr Whybrow asked Ms Higgins if she didn’t go to the doctor because she hadn’t had sex with anybody on the night she alleges she was raped.
The Project co-host Lisa Wilkinson won’t be reading the headlines for the period the trial features in the news, and won’t appear on the show on the days she gives evidence
‘Nothing you are saying right now is true whatsoever and it’s deeply insulting,’ Ms Higgins said.
‘I don’t know if you’ve ever gone through a trauma before but confronting it head on with professionals is a really difficult thing to do.’
Ms Higgins will also be questioned about her claim she tried to organise a psychiatrist appointment after the alleged rape but was told there was a two-month wait.
Mr Whybrow put to Ms Higgins that she was offered an earlier appointment within a month of her first query but she said she could not recall.
‘I think I maybe have escalated it at some point but on the original phone call, they said two months,’ she said.
She said she had been about to leave for Perth to work on the election campaign with then defence industry minister Linda Reynolds and a psychiatrist appointment in Canberra ‘would not have been feasible’.
Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann at the ACT Supreme Court in Canberra, where he is on trial
Ms Higgins was also questioned about her delay in providing the police with her phone when she reopened the complaint against Lehrmann in 2021.
She admitted she had cleared the phone of some text messages as well as photos of herself with Liberal ministers or holding alcohol but denied she was trying to withhold evidence from police.
‘It wasn’t with the intent of keeping things from police but it was kind of purging things from my life,’ she said.
‘I didn’t want to look at politicians in my camera roll anymore. I just wanted them gone.’
The trial is estimated to run for at least another five weeks.