Court documents filed by the Sydney Daily Telegraph claim that actor Geoffrey Rush behaved like a “pervert” and engaged in “sexually predatory behaviour” during a 2015 theater production.
Oscar-winner Rush is suing the Telegraph’s publisher News Corp over articles about allegations he behaved inappropriately towards actress Eryn Jean Norvill during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.
Norvill had previously declined to provide a statement to the court but last month agreed to provide evidence for the Daily Telegraph at the upcoming trial. Her decision means the News Corp tabloid can argue a defense of truth.
According to the Guardian, the latest court documents filed by the publisher allege that Rush simulated “groping and fondling” towards the actress; Rush’s hand “traced across” the side of her breast during a preview performance; he touched her lower back under her shirt; made lewd gestures in her direction such as licking his lips; and sent her a text message months after the production saying he thought of her “more than is socially appropriate.”
Rush’s lawyers had tried to have the document thrown out, claiming some of the allegations lack precision and inexplicably deviate from the Telegraph‘s previous defense, which was thrown out by a local judge in March after he found its claims were “vague and imprecise.”
Rush has vigorously denied all claims of inappropriate conduct.
The new defense has meant the trial will be delayed by seven weeks and Rush’s lawyer, Sue Chrysanthou, last week said he would seek indemnity costs and aggravated damages due to the “continuing trauma” of the case and its delay.
Earlier this year, the Shine star’s lawyers said he was “virtually housebound” and that his career has been “irreparably damaged” by the articles. Last month, the actor exited an Australian stage production.