Allegations of drug use emerge in trial of Nigella Lawson's former assistantsFrom Atika Shubert, CNNUpdated 5:56 AM ET, Thu November 28, 2013Story highlightsLawson's ex-husband Charles Saatchi takes stand ThursdayAn e-mail read in court reveals allegations of drug use by celebrity chefLawson's representatives have declined to commentThe couple's former assistants are accused of embezzling close to $500,000The 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 abuseCNN Recommends AIRASIA CRASH10 questions about AirAsia tragedyWith the discovery of debris from the AirAsia plane, investigators move closer to discovering what happened. What are the key questions, and what comes next?AirAsia disaster's lasting impactThe growth of AirAsia has been a regional aviation success story. The reason behind the loss of Flight QZ 8501 will be key to whether passengers start to shun it, says Alan Khee-Jin Tan.'Africa is not a country' campaignThey say there are no stupid questions -- but are there? How about, "Do you speak African?"What broke China's Internet in 2014The year of outrage also applies to China's Internet users in 2014.Swimming face-to-face with sharksOne man swims among sharks without the protection of a cage to make studio-quality, intimate photos of the sea creatures.Turning footsteps into free energyUsing a technology that has been around for 130 years, a company called Pavegen hopes to create electricity from everyday human activities.Father of Web predicts next phaseWhat's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist and fatherof the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.Best Instagram art of 2014Gone are the days of grainy phone images with the resolution of a poor imitation Monet.'Killing will be our religious duty'A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims. The year in pictures "The year in pictures" treks across the globe, looking back on the events that shaped 2014.Defining Moments: Our changing worldEach day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.Scenes from the fieldBrowse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.More from europeOfficial: Gunman recorded terror attack on Parisian kosher groceryBodies in streets as shelling rocks Ukraine city of DonetskIs Paris in danger of another attack?