Former Attorney-General Christian Porter has revealed he’s found love with a Sydney-based criminal law specialist, after discontinuing his defamation action against the ABC.
The divorced dad, 50, has confirmed in a joint statement with his new girlfriend that he is dating Karen Espiner, who was previously awarded Criminal Law Partner of the Year in the 2020 Lawyers Weekly Awards.
Like Mr Porter, Ms Espiner has a discreet tattoo.
Promotional photos on her professional website display a semicolon tattoo on her wrist, which is known as a symbol of solidarity against depression, suicide, addiction and other mental health issues.
“The Minister and Ms Espiner have confirmed they are in the early stages of a relationship. That relationship has not been a secret but it is a private matter which they do not intend to discuss publicly,’’ a spokesman told news.com.au.
Earlier, Ms Espiner told Nine newspapers’ CBD column that: “Obviously over the last few months I have been one of many people who have provided Christian with a lot of support, but I have not been involved in the defamation proceedings in any legal capacity.”
Mr Porter has been in the headlines this year after the ABC published a story stating a senior cabinet minister was the subject of a 1988 rape allegation.
Mr Porter later chose to identify himself as the minister in question, arguing the ABC story defamed him and led to his identification on the internet. He denies the allegation and NSW police, who established a strike force to investigate the claims last year, have announced they will not investigate further after his accuser died by suicide in 2020 shortly after telling police she did not wish to proceed with a complaint.
Ms Espiner is one of the state’s pre-eminent criminal lawyers, ranking her in the top band of lawyers in the state.
“Much of Karen’s practice is devoted to representing clients in the District and Supreme Courts who have been charged with very serious criminal law matters including murder, sexual offences, drug offences, serious assaults and corporate offences,’’ her website states.
“She also appears in complicated Local Court matters for clients whose personal and professional reputations are at risk.”
The founder of her own law firm, she also has experience in quasi-criminal matters including disciplinary proceedings, coronial inquests and inquiries.
“One of Karen’s strengths is her ability to analyse and explain complex legal issues to her clients in a simple, easy-to-follow way. She is well respected by other members of the profession and the judiciary and is known for her meticulous preparation, persuasive advocacy and professionalism,’’ her official biography states.
Testimonials on the law firm’s website from clients include, “You were a welcome warm and empathetic face in tricky circumstances”, with another client stating, “I am still pinching myself. The frightful and emotionally-charged nature of this case, for me, found great solitude in your listening ears.”
Mr Porter announced he was separating from his second wife Jennifer in an email to newsrooms last year.
“After 13 years together it is with sadness that we have decided to separate. This decision follows careful consideration about the best way forward for each other and our family,” the couple wrote in the statement.
“It is a mutual decision and no third parties are involved. We have been working hard to see what could be possible because first and foremost we are loving parents to two wonderful little children.”