A well-known political figure was aware of alleged efforts to stop an indecent assault complainant from giving evidence against a Kiwi rich-lister, a court has heard.
He is also charged with twice trying to pervert the course of justice by offering a bribe for the 2016 complainant - the first of the three to go to police - to drop their claim.
The businessman denies the charges and has claimed he is the victim of blackmailing efforts.
Today, the High Court at Auckland heard a prominent political figure was aware of an alleged attempt to dissuade the 2016 complainant during a meeting at the five-star Palazzo Versace hotel on the Gold Coast in May 2017.
The Crown alleges two PR consultants were hired for the alleged "Gold Coast plot" by the businessman through his manager, who is also on trial for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The PR workers have interim name suppression and have both been granted immunity from prosecution by the Solicitor-General in exchange for their evidence for the Crown.
The alleged Gold Coast attempt failed, however, and the complainant soon told police about the approach.
Within 24 hours of returning to Auckland from Australia, the two PR consultants met with the businessman's manager at Family Bar on Karangahape Rd.
Their discussions were recorded by one of the consultants and throughout the recording a well-known political figure, who has interim name suppression, is mentioned.
The first PR consultant can be heard explaining he paid half his fee to her, but has since told the court this was not true.
The second consultant, however, said today the political figure was aware of the Gold Coast rendezvous. She explained to jurors she overheard a later conversation between the political character and her associate after returning from Australia.
"I don't know at what point [the political figure] knew, but she knew about it."
The manager is also heard during the Family Bar recording talking about a joke he shared with the businessman where the complainant was killed in an orchestrated "traffic accident".
The first PR consultant adds he had a friend who could help arrange "a deal or put him in a body bag", the court heard.
"No, I'm not joking, no, I'm not joking," the consultant is recorded uttering.
But the second PR consultant told the court today she didn't think her associate was serious.
"He's many things but he's not that evil," she said. "I don't think that he would take a person's life."
Other meetings involving the consultants also occurred, she said, including one with an entertainer involved with the case on Auckland's Princes Wharf.
At the seaside gathering the entertainer presented a flow chart he drew up to help everyone stick to one story, the court heard.
The manager's lawyer, Rachael Reed QC, has accused the second PR worker of recording some of the conversations for "insurance" and deleting potential evidence from her phone.
"You wanted to ensure you had something over my client in case things went wrong for you?" Reed said.
"No, that's not true," the consultant replied, but later agreed she wanted some cover after being tricked by her colleague into doing something criminal.
She has denied deleting evidence.
The entertainer has already pleaded guilty to two charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice for trying to have the 2016 complainant drop their allegations, including the Gold Coast attempt and an earlier effort in April 2017.
He has name suppression and is due to be sentenced at the end of this month.
The trial resumed yesterday after it was suspended last week due to Auckland entering alert level 3 Covid-19 restrictions.