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Nigella Lawson's Alleged Drug Use Front and Center in Fraud Trial

The sordid tale of drug abuse and embezzlement took an odd turn when Lawson's ex-husband, Charles Saatchi, was unable to offer any proof to back his claims.

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'Hi-gella'
Photo via Shutterstock

By McCarton Ackerman

12/03/13

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Nigella Lawson is an unlikely candidate to be at the center of a major drug scandal, but that’s what's happening to the TV chef as a fraud case related to her two former assistants heats up. Ex-husband Charles Saatchi accused Lawson of giving drugs to their 19-year-old daughter, Cosimi, and claims she authorized her two assistants, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, to swindle him out of $490,000. He also dubbed his ex-wife “Hi-gella” and claims that the sisters are innocent victims in the crime.

In their testimony, the Grillo sisters said that Lawson had a daily habit of using marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs, and had been taking “cocaine every day for a decade.” The former assistants also said their wild shopping sprees and first-class airfare on Saatchi’s credit card were authorized by Lawson in exchange for not revealing her drug use to him. A letter to Lawson released to the court also expresses Saatchi’s concern that she “has no credible recollection of events as a result of drug abuse.”

Judge Robin Johnson ruled last Tuesday that the trial should not be abandoned, which means that the popular TV chef will likely be questioned in the witness box about her alleged drug addiction. Lawson and Saatchi filed for divorce last June after he was photographed with his hand around her throat outside of a restaurant. Although he was cautioned by police after the incident, he was not charged with any crimes.

But just a few days after making the scathing accusations, Saatchi told the London court that he had no proof of Lawson actually using drugs. “I have never, never seen any evidence of Nigella taking any drug whatsoever,” he said. Meanwhile, Lawson is reportedly set for a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.

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