Prosecutor Shane Drumgold, SC, asked Senator Reynolds why she requested the transcripts of Ms Higgins’ testimony.
“Because I was curious to know what was said, but my attorney told me it wasn’t appropriate,” she told the court.
Mr Drumgold asked Senator Reynolds if she had discussed the affair with her partner.
“My lawyer was very clear with him not to discuss it with me,” Senator Reynolds said.
Dressed in a pink jacket, black dress and pearls, she sat three feet from the 12 jurors tasked with deciding the case, like Mr. Lehrmann, sacked from Senator Reynold’s office following what had was initially described as a serious security incident. , looked across the courtroom.
Mr Lehrmann has pleaded not guilty to sex without consent and denies having sex with Ms Higgins that night.
For more than an hour, Senator Reynolds explained how she learned of the incident in her ministerial office in early 2019.
Senator Reynolds said she had mentally gone through events since Ms Higgins alleged in two February 2021 interviews that she had been raped on a sofa in the Cabinet wing of Parliament.
Until then, Senator Reynolds said she was unaware of the rape allegations, but said she knew Ms Higgins was upset and had talked about going to see a doctor. After the couple discussed the late-night incident, Senator Reynolds told Ms Higgins she should speak with the Australian Federal Police.
Senator Reynolds told Ms Higgins she would not lose her job.
“I haven’t done anything but, for 18 months, I’ve been going through this [mentally]“, she told the court.
Mr Drumgold said Senator Reynolds was “trying to direct the cross-examination”, asking him to explain his motive.
“That’s not what I was looking to do,” she said, explaining that she had never been in a criminal trial before and didn’t know how the process worked.
Monday was the first day sitting politicians testified at the trial.
Earlier, former Attorney General Michaelia Cash said she was ‘absolutely unaware’ of Ms Higgins’ alleged rape until almost two years later.
Ms Cash was beamed into the courtroom via video link, her signature power suit contrasting against an indescribable background.
“I’m more than happy to take the oath. I have a Bible with me,” she said.
Mr Drumgold asked Ms Cash about Senator Reynolds being sworn in as defense industry minister and the date of the 2019 federal election, called by Scott Morrison for May 18.
“I accept that the dates you provide to me are the correct dates,” she replied.
When asked if she was familiar with the term “plausible deniability,” the former attorney general paused.
She told the court she needed more context to answer the question.