Lisa Wilkinson will continue her fight to have her legal costs paid by Network 10 after revealing she felt her employer had abandoned her to face the fallout of her Logies speech alone.
The journalist and her former employer are being sued by Bruce Lehrmann over an interview with Brittany Higgins on The Project, which he claims conveyed he raped Ms Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.
He has consistently denied the allegations, and pleaded not guilty to a criminal charge before his trial was abandoned due to juror misconduct in 2022.
Justice Michael Lee has reserved his decision in the defamation case, but Ms Wilkinson and Network 10 returned to the Federal Court on Wednesday for a related dispute over costs.
Network 10 initially accepted it was liable for legal fees incurred by Ms Wilkinson during the defamation suit, which are estimated to exceed $700,000.
However, it has since refused to pay for the presenter’s legal fees after claiming her legal team performed unnecessary work.
In an affidavit tendered to the court, Ms Wilkinson said she was “gutted” by her employer’s “cruel” and “disingenuous” decision.
A key question in the argument is whether it was necessary for Ms Wilkinson to hire a private legal team when she could have been represented by the legal team at Network Ten.
Ms Wilkinson previously told the court she was compelled to hire her own legal team after she lost faith in the in-house counsel.
She claimed Network 10 failed to accept its role in creating and approving the now-infamous Logies speech she made in 2022, which attracted intense criticism and caused a three-month delay in Mr Lehrmann’s criminal trial.
Ms Wilkinson said the fallout left her “begging” her employer to reveal their legal advice regarding the speech, but it was kept secret under the cloak of legal professional privilege.
Network 10 has not accepted that it was necessary for Ms Wilkinson to obtain separate legal representation.
The argument will be heard before Justice Michael Lee on Wednesday.