More than half a million people flicked the TV over to Channel 7 to watch Bruce Lehrmann give his first interview since he was accused of raping his former colleague Brittany Higgins.
The former Coalition staffer has always maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent during a trial that was ultimately abandoned last year due to juror misconduct.
On Sunday night, Mr Lehrmann fronted cameras for his first sit-down interview on Channel 7’s Spotlight program in which he detailed his version of what happened when he and Ms Higgins returned to Parliament House on March 23, 2019.
About 600,000 people tuned in to watch the interview, pulling viewers away from Channel 9’s consistently successful current affairs program 60 Minutes, which brought in just 426,000 viewers on Sunday night, according to OzTAM data.
During the segment, Seven aired never-before-seen CCTV footage from Parliament House on the night.
It shows Ms Higgins and Mr Lehrmann walking through a security check and down the halls of Parliament House.
“It simply didn’t happen,” Mr Lehrmann said of the allegation during the interview.
The former Coalition staffers had been out drinking with other colleagues before agreeing to split a rideshare to their respective homes on the night of the alleged incident.
Instead, they went to Parliament House.
Mr Lehrmann had previously provided four conflicting versions of events when asked why he and Ms Higgins did not immediately go home that night.
Spotlight host Liam Bartlett probed Mr Lehrmann on the different explanations, adding: “It doesn’t look good, does it, Bruce?”
Mr Lehrmann agreed but clarified that the version he told to the federal police that he needed to collect the keys to his apartment was the truth.