Brittany Higgins will give “graphic and distressing” evidence about her alleged rape inside Parliament House at the hands of colleague Bruce Lehrmann in defence of a defamation bid against Network Ten. Ms Higgins began giving evidence in Sydney’s Federal Court on Tuesday, after her alleged rapist had finished his, in a finale that included an insult for former prime minister Scott Morrison and accusations against Ms Higgins’ fiance David Sharaz. It was then the turn of lawyers for Network Ten and their former star presenter Lisa Wilkinson to outline their case, which they say shows the episode of The Project featuring Ms Higgins, above right, in 2021 was both true and justified. To do that, they revealed they would be turning over every stone — calling almost two dozen witnesses to back up Ms Higgins’ allegations of being attacked in the office of WA senator Linda Reynolds in March 2019. Before that, though, Ms Higgins will take the stand to make those allegations again. “We expect that she will give graphic and distressing evidence of being sexually assaulted by Mr Lehrmann in Senator Reynolds’ office,” Dr Matt Collins said. “After a night when she had consumed at least 12 vodkas or spirit-based drinks and was more drunk than she had ever been in her life.” Ms Higgins was so drunk, he said, that an expert will estimate her blood alcohol at the time would have been about 0.230 — or about five times the legal driving limit. And Dr Collins put to Mr Lehrmann, left, that he was responsible for her level of intoxication, having bought and “monitored” her alcohol consumption over the night. Witnesses to be called after Ms Higgins will include a string of former Canberra colleagues, some of whom were out with the pair on the night of the alleged rape. One is set to say Mr Lehrmann had shown more than a professional interest in Ms Higgins on a previous night out — and had even tried to stop her leaving by grabbing her phone. Another will attest to seeing Mr Lehrmann touching and “pashing” Ms Higgins in a nightclub before their detour to Parliament House — and then sending a text just hours later saying, “Brittany had hooked up with Bruce”. Dr Collins said an allegation that evidence might have been concocted to pervert the course of justice was “scandalous”. And he said the intimation Ms Higgins had made up the rape allegation in a bid to save her job was even worse. “It would be a monstrous thing — as Ms Higgins herself will tell you — to fabricate an allegation of rape,” Dr Collins said. “And if Ms Higgins was acting to save her job — and she had achieved her objective . . . why on earth would she almost two years later resign from the successor to that job . . . reactivate her complaint with the Australian Federal Police and give media interviews . . . exposing herself to the extraordinary scrutiny that’s since followed?” Other witnesses will include Ms Higgins’ parents, her former boyfriend, senior ministerial staff and police — all of whom she told about the alleged rape. A rape crisis counsellor visited by Ms Higgins will also recall her “crying so intensely that the tears just continued to flow”. But Senator Reynolds — who is herself suing Ms Higgins and her fiance for defamation through the WA courts — was not mentioned as a potential witness. Ms Wilkinson, right, and all her Network Ten bosses were. Ultimately, Dr Collins said, the defamation claims were “bound to fail for a number of reasons” — including the fact he was not named by The Project and not identified by any mainstream media for six months after the interview aired. Mr Lehrmann and his lawyers claim those who knew him would have been able to identify him immediately — and some fringe websites actually did name him within days. During the final stages of his mammoth cross-examination, he was quizzed about those identifications, including a swipe at former Liberal prime minister Scott Morrison. Asked about the mountain of other publications referring to him before and after last year’s criminal trial collapsed, Wilkinson’s barrister Sue Chrysanthou asked if Mr Lehrmann recalled Mr Morrison’s apology to Ms Higgins in 2022. “His stupid Parliament speech? Yes,” he replied. He confirmed he had been financially compensated, through payment of his rent for 12 months, for his two “tell-all” TV interviews earlier this year. And he also claimed he knew the author’s identity from a mysterious email sent to him weeks before The Project aired. “How many people know what you did, and how many did you tell? How many cameras are in Parliament House, and how many people tracked down the vision,” the email read. Mr Lehrmann said he now believed that the email was sent to him by Mr Sharaz. His case will be back in court again on Wednesday, with Ms Higgins due back in the witness box. The trial continues.