Skip to main content

Allegations of drug use emerge in trial of Nigella Lawson's former assistants

From Atika Shubert, CNN
updated 5:56 AM EST, Thu November 28, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lawson's ex-husband Charles Saatchi takes stand Thursday
  • An e-mail read in court reveals allegations of drug use by celebrity chef
  • Lawson's representatives have declined to comment
  • The couple's former assistants are accused of embezzling close to $500,000

London (CNN) -- The former husband of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson will take the stand Thursday in the trial of the couple's former personal assistants, who are accused of defrauding them of 300,000 pounds (U.S. $488,000).

The British court heard earlier this week at a pre-trial hearing for the assistants that Lawson and ex-husband Charles Saatchi had a "culture of secrecy" around their marriage.

In the hearing, the defense read an e-mail from Saatchi to Lawson about the allegedly embezzled money, saying that the assistants would "get off" because, he wrote, Lawson was using cocaine and marijuana on a daily basis and "allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked."

Representatives for Lawson declined to comment on the allegations, citing the ongoing court proceedings.

The defense also read a statement from Saatchi saying that he learned of Lawson's alleged drug use in June, around the time the couple were photographed in a restaurant having an argument.

In the photos -- which were splashed across the front pages of national newspapers at the time -- Saatchi is seen with his hand around Lawson's throat. Saatchi, a renowned art collector, accepted a police warning for assault, and the couple announced they would divorce soon after.

The defense claimed that the e-mails showed both Saatchi and Lawson had attempted a "manipulation of the court" and that the case should be thrown out. The judge ruled the trial would proceed.

The former assistants, Italian sisters, have denied they embezzled any money from the couple.

Opinion: The rich and famous are not immune to domestic abuse

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:00 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
China's Xi Jinping and India's Narendra Modi, leaders of the most populous nations face similar challenges. Can they learn from each other?
updated 6:36 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
The U.S. is not returning combat troops to Iraq, President Barack Obama insists.
updated 11:01 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
This is "Flames of War," a slick and ominous new video from the ISIS media center.
updated 8:38 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
A man abducted alongside killed U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff tells CNN that no one from the U.S. government has tried to talk with him.
updated 11:08 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mulatu Astatke is the founding father of ethio-jazz: a fusion of Ethiopian music with western jazz.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Have you been to these? The global museum list, released Tuesday, ranks 25 of the world's best museums.
updated 1:03 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, comes with new features that you'll enjoy.
updated 5:27 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Psychedelic drugs are being researched as a potential treatment for conditions ranging from anxiety to tobacco and alcohol addiction.
updated 9:42 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
It's a surfer's paradise -- but Diah Rahayu is out on her own when it comes to professional women's wave-riding in Bali.
updated 6:04 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT