The Walkley Foundation has dumped Channel 7 Spotlight’s exclusive “bombshell” interview with Bruce Lehrmann as a finalist from its Scoop of the Year category. In a statement, the foundation said the Board had reviewed documents uploaded to the Federal Court this week, which revealed an exclusivity agreement made between Seven and Mr Lehrmann in April. The documents reveal Channel 7 arranged to pay for the interview, along with his rent to live in a luxurious Maroubra apartment for a year, starting from April 2023. During the exclusive Spotlight interview, Mr Lehrmann gave his side of the story on the high profile court case where he was accused of raping former parliamentary colleague, Brittany Higgins, in Parliament House. He is heard stating to interviewer Liam Bartlett: “Let’s light some fires”. “Everything needs to be out there, in the open, so people can assess this for what it is,” he states. Mr Lehrmann was charged with raping Ms Higgins and pleaded not guilty during a criminal trial in Canberra. The trial was aborted due to juror misconduct and a retrial was abandoned by the Director of Public Prosecutions due to concerns over Ms Higgins’ mental health. Mr Lehrmann maintains his innocence. In their statement the Walkley Foundation said: “Following a review of these documents, The Walkley Foundation Board has come to the unanimous conclusion that the Seven Spotlight story ‘Trial and Error’ was not eligible for consideration in the All Media Scoop of the Year category for the 2023 Walkley Awards as the entry did not accurately describe the extent of benefits provided to Mr Lehrmann in exchange for interviews, information and exclusive access.” “The Walkley Foundation has revoked the story’s finalist status in the 68th Walkley Awards. “It is the responsibility of The Walkley Foundation management to determine the eligibility of entries for consideration by the judging panels in each round of judging for the Walkley Awards.” Channel 7 had previously denied paying Mr Lehrmann for the interview.